Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signaled that he’s open to limiting legal immigration to the United States, a step beyond some of Walker’s most hardline comments on immigration reform in the past.
“In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying, we will make adjustments,” Walker said Monday in an interview with Glenn Beck, flagged by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “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.”
Walker’s position on immigration has been a point of contention, especially as he’s ramped up his moves toward jumping into the 2016 presidential race. In 2013 he signaled openness to a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, a position strongly opposed by hard right Republicans. But earlier this year Walker feuded with the newspaper where he made the pathway to citizenship remarks and stressed numerous times that he opposes “amnesty” —shorthand among immigration hawks for a pathway to citizenship.
“I don’t believe in amnesty, and part of the reason why I’ve made that a firm position is I look at the way this president has mishandled this issue,” Walker said in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace in early May.
“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 added in the interview with Beck on Monday.
Walker mentioning Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is likely not an accident. Sessions is one of the most outspoken opponents of immigration reform. Earlier in April The Washington Post published an op-ed by Sessions where he argued that the U.S. needs to “curb immigration flows.”
“If no immigration curbs are enacted, the Census Bureau estimates that another 14 million immigrants will come to the United States between now and 2025,” Sessions wrote. “That means we will introduce a new population almost four times larger than that of Los Angeles in just 10 years time.”