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Scott Walker on Immigration

Republican Wisconsin Governor

 


I changed my view to anti-immigration because I listened

Q: From 2002 until as recently as 2013, just two years ago, you supported comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship. Now you say that you've changed your mind. Why?

WALKER: I acknowledged that. I said I actually listened to the American people. And I think people across America want a leader who's actually going to listen to them. I talked to border state governors and other elected officials. I look at how this president messed up the immigration system in this country. Most importantly, I listened to the people of America. I believe we need to secure the border. I've been to the border with Governor Abbott in Texas and others, seeing the problems that they have there. There is international criminal organizations penetrating our southern based borders, and we need to do something about it. Secure the border, enforce the law, no amnesty, and go forward with the legal immigration system that gives priority to American working families and wages.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

We have too many legal immigrants

Ahead of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event, Walker hardened his positions on issues considered litmus tests for social conservatives, including abortion and immigration. He suggested in an interview with Glenn Beck that there are too many legal immigrants, a position to the right of other 2016 hopefuls.
Source: N.Y. Times on 2015 Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition summit , Apr 25, 2015

2013: Comprehensive reform; 2015: no, that's amnesty

Q: Back when you were the Milwaukee County executive, you actually supported the Kennedy-McCain comprehensive immigration plan. As part of a comprehensive plan--tough enforcement, E-Verify, the 11 million people already here paid penalty--should they get citizenship?

WALKER: No, I'm not talking about amnesty.

Q: But you said you supported it.

WALKER: And my view has changed. I'm flat out saying it. Candidates can say that. Sometimes they don't.

Q: So, you've changed from 2013?

WALKER: Absolutely. I look at the problems we've experienced for the last few years. I've talked to governors on the border and others out there. I've talked to people all across America. And the concerns I have is that we need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works. A legal immigration system that works. And part of doing this is put the onus on employers, getting them E-Verify and tools to do that. But I don't think you do it through amnesty.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 1, 2015

No amnesty; close the back door & enforce the law

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) declared "there should be no amnesty" at CPAC. When asked what he believes should be done with illegal immigrants already in the country, he stated "there should be no amnesty. You should secure the border, not just for immigration reasons, but why would you put a fence around 3 sides of your home and leave the back door open? That's what we have when we guard our ports, we guard our airports, we don't guard our borders--beyond that you've got to enforce the law. We put the onus on employers to give them an E-Verify type system where they have access to enforce the law."

Regarding DHS funding and funding for the president's executive action on immigration, he said "you have got to tie the two together, and instead of playing on defense you have got to play on offense and put the pressure back on the president and his allies."

Source: Breitbart.com on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 26, 2015

No amnesty; but no mass deportation & no executive action

Should the government offer immigrants already living in the US illegally a pathway to citizenship? Walker's stance is unclear: "First, Obama's executive action should be repealed," a spokesperson said. "After that, we need absolute security at our borders and then we can address fixing our legal immigration system and deal with those here illegally, but amnesty is not the answer."

In a February interview, Walker reiterated that he is not for "amnesty," but also does not favor mass deportation: "I'm not an advocate of the plans that have been pushed here in Washington," Walker said. "In the end, we need to enforce the laws of the US, and we need to find a way for people to have a legitimate legal immigration system in this country, and that doesn't mean amnesty."

In 2013, however, Walker voiced some support for a pathway to citizenship. Walker was asked if "with the right penalties & waiting periods & meeting the requirements, people could get citizenship?" "Sure," he said at the time.

Source: National Journal 2016 series: Republicans on immigration , Feb 23, 2015

No amnesty, but no mass deportation either

Q: We know you want to fix the border and fix the immigration system, but what would you do about the 11 million undocumented who are still here?

WALKER: I think for sure, we need to secure the border. I think we need to enforce the legal system. I'm not for amnesty, I'm not an advocate of the plans that have been pushed here in Washington. We've got to have a healthy balance. We're a country both of immigrants and of laws. We can't ignore the laws in this country, can't ignore the people who come in, whether it's from Mexico or Central America.

Q: But is deporting them possible?

WALKER: That's not what I'm advocating. I am saying in the end, we need to enforce the laws in the United States, and we need to find a way for people to have a legitimate legal immigration system in this country, and that does not mean amnesty.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 1, 2015

Endorses path to citizenship for immigrant workers

Scott Walker distanced himself from House Republicans debating a new immigration bill by endorsing a path to citizenship for immigrant workers.Walker acknowledged that a substantial number of Wisconsin farms depend on migrant workers, some of them here illegally. He also was sharply critical of how difficult the federal government makes it for those workers to come to this country.

"If people want to come here and work hard and benefit, I don't care whether they come from Mexico or Ireland or Germany or Canada or South Africa or anywhere else," he said. "I want them here."

The Democratic-led U.S. Senate passed an immigration bill last week that features a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. Many conservative House Republicans oppose the bill, viewing it as rewarding law-breakers.

He said as a gubernatorial candidate in 2010 that he would sign an Arizona-style bill, which would allow local police to stop suspected illegal immigrants.

Source: Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, "Endorses path to citizenship" , Jul 3, 2013

Make it easier to enter the country legally

Walker said he is in favor of the Senate immigration bill--that features a path to citizenship--but called it a backward "Band-Aid" approach, saying elected leaders should make it easier for people to enter the country and become legal citizens in the first place.

"Not only do they need to fix things for people already here, or find some way to do it, there's got to be a larger way to fix the system in the first place," he said. "Because if it wasn't so cumbersome, if there wasn't such a long wait, if it wasn't so difficult to get in, we wouldn't have the other problems that we have (with people living here illegally)," he said. Walker's stance on immigration reform evolved over the years.

Source: Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, "Endorses path to citizenship" , Jul 3, 2013

2010: stop suspected illegals; 2012: that's a distraction

Walker's stance on immigration reform evolved over the years. He said as a gubernatorial candidate in 2010 that he would sign an Arizona-style bill, which would allow local police to stop suspected illegal immigrants, if he were elected. Then, in December 2012, Walker said he no longer favored such a bill, telling reporters that such legislation would become a "huge distraction" from accomplishing his agenda for the state. Today, Walker said he would support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants under some circumstances.
Source: Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, "Endorses path to citizenship" , Jul 3, 2013

Supports AZ's immigration law and no benefits for illegals

I am disappointed by the federal judge's ruling to block Arizona's right to enforce the rule of law without interference from the federal government. As governor, I will sign similar legislation to the Arizona Law to ensure the taxpayers of Wisconsin are not paying for benefits like Badger Care and in state college tuition for people who are here illegally.
Source: 2010 gubernatorial press release, "AZ Law" , Jul 28, 2010

Other governors on Immigration: Scott Walker on other issues:

WI Senatorial:
Tammy Baldwin

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Newly-elected governors (first seated in Jan. 2017):
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IN-R: Holcomb
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Retiring 2017-18:
AL-R: Robert Bentley(R)
(term-limited 2018)
CA-D: Jerry Brown
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CO-D: John Hickenlooper
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FL-R: Rick Scott
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(appointed ambassador, 2017)
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(retiring 2018)
KS-R: Sam Brownback
(term-limited 2018)
ME-R: Paul LePage
(term-limited 2018)
MI-R: Rick Snyder
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MN-D: Mark Dayton
(retiring 2018)
NM-R: Susana Martinez
(term-limited 2018)
OH-R: John Kasich
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OK-R: Mary Fallin
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SC-R: Nikki Haley
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SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
(term-limited 2018)
TN-R: Bill Haslam
(term-limited 2018)
WY-R: Matt Mead
(term-limited 2018)
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Page last updated: Feb 21, 2017