One issue which is sure to be a hot-button throughout the 2016 primaries, and the general election, is immigration reform. Some Republicans, such as Jeb Bush, have staked out a more moderate position, expressing support for plans which create a pathway to citizenship for people in the country illegally. However, Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) has now offered details of a plan which would not offer citizenship, and instead focuses on “protecting American workers,” according to Walker.
Report from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
In the wake of criticism that he has flip-flopped over illegal immigration, Gov. Scott Walker is now wading into the issue of legal immigration.
In an interview with conservative talk show host Glenn Beck on Monday, the Republican governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate was asked about his shifting position on immigration.
Walker repeated his recent comments that he used to support “amnesty,” or a path to citizenship for immigrants in the United States illegally, but does not anymore, saying he’s since learned more about the issue.
In the past, the governor has focused most of his comments on illegal immigration. But in his interview with Beck, Walker also waded into the issue of legal immigration, and suggested that he supports limiting that, too, in an effort to protect American workers.
“In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying we will make adjustments,” Walker said. “The next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages.
“Because the more I’ve talked to folks — I’ve talked to Senator Sessions and others out there, but it is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today — is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages, and we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.”
“It defies reason to argue that the record admission of new foreign workers has no negative effect on the wages of American workers, including the wages of past immigrants hoping to climb into the middle class.”
In his Beck interview, Walker also repeated his recent comments that people in the country illegally should return to their countries of origin first, which has drawn criticism over comparisons to former 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney saying he supported “self-deportation.”
“No amnesty, if someone wants to be a citizen, they have to go back to their country of origin and get in line behind everybody else who’s been waiting,” Walker said.
This is one of those issues that will be a litmus test, in my opinion, within the Republican primary. The term “amnesty” is going to be tossed around like a profanity and if it sticks to a candidate, they’re going to have issues moving forward, just ask the “absolutely shocked” Eric Cantor.
Walker has dabbled in a moderate stance so he’s coming out strong now to make up for it. Jeb Bush plans to own the moderate view, with hopes of consolidating the establishment business community, while the other candidates squirm somewhere in between.