Expected 2016 GOP candidate Scott Walker is making a concerted effort to clarify his stance on the country’s immigration policy.
Wisconsin Gov. Walker, who’s expected to run for president in 2016, has said candidly that he’s changed his mind on immigration reform after saying in 2013 that he could see a plan in which illegal immigrants could eventually become citizens. On Wednesday night with Fox’s Sean Hannity, Walker tried to strengthen his position on securing the border and preventing illegal immigration in the first place.
“In Texas in particular, [Texas Gov.] Greg Abbott showed me with the men and women on the ground from the local level to the state level to even some of the fine men and women who work for the federal government, and they show that we’re just being overrun, that this is an issue of safety, of security, national security, it’s ultimately an issue of sovereignty,” Walker began.
“If the United States was being attacked in one of our water ports on the East or West Coast, we’d be sending in our military forces, and yet we’re facing some of the same challenges with international criminal organizations, the cartels that are trafficking not only drugs but weapons and humans, and we need to step up and be aggressive,” Walker continued. “that means securing the border with infrastructure, with technology, with personnel and the federal government’s got to lead the way. We can’t expect the border states to do this alone.”
“You can’t be talking about anything else until you do that,” Walker concluded. “Once you do that, then we can talk about enforcing the laws — by using an effective E-verify system for all employers…and making sure that any legal immigration system — no amnesty — any legal immigration system we go forward with is one that ultimately has to protect American workers and make sure American wages are going up.”
While Walker stated his opposition to amnesty, he did not clarify what solution he supports for illegal immigrants already in the U.S. The expected candidate has been plagued by reports that he does support a pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally. (RELATED: Walker Flubs Amnesty Zig-Zag)
The Wall Street Journal most recently reported that Walker told New Hampshire GOP donors that he’d support allowing undocumented immigrants to “eventually get their citizenship without being given preferential treatment.” Walker’s staff vehemently denied the report and he appears intent on countering the claim.
Walker’s mention of immigration’s effect on American wages touches on a contentious issue that many potential 2016 candidates have avoided. But previously, even President Obama, who’s currently battling federal courts to allow his most recent executive actions on amnesty to move forward, has said that a blast of illegal immigration would take a toll on some workers’ wages. (RELATED: Flashback: Obama Says Illegal Immigration Hurts ‘Wages Of Blue-Collar Americans’)