Scott Walker supports mass immigration, probably including amnesty

As usual for those in the Koch family sphere, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker supports large-scale immigration. That is, a system where many more people could come here legally than do so currently.

Walker is also not a strong and vocal opponent of mass legalization (aka amnesty, aka a path to citizenship). Earlier this year he made a comment suggesting that he supports mass legalization, but now he's attempting to dance around that comment but without ruling out mass legalization. Walker clearly isn't an ideologue on immigration nor does he make it a priority. But, based on my long history of being right about who actually opposes mass legalization and who doesn't, all Walker is waiting for is the right set of circumstances to openly support mass legalization. Those circumstances might include things like a major donor wanting amnesty, or Walker thinking it would get him votes for his next election.

Walker supporters will no doubt disagree, so they're invited to get Walker to explicitly state that he will oppose any legalization plan for more than 100,000 illegal aliens. If he dodges that question, then no other answer is needed.

On July 2, 2013 Walker spoke to the Wausau Daily Herald editorial board [1] and was asked "The biggest split is about what to do about those 11 million, however many people it is. Can you envision a world where, with the right penalties and waiting periods and meet the requirements, where those people could get citizenship?"

Walker's response:

Sure. I think it makes sense. But, what I'm saying is [unintelligible] of fixing it. Because otherwise we do this kind of bandaid approach... the mere fact that [the federal government is] having that debate without having a discussion about why is the system itself, why aren't we fixing that just seems to be kind of the vacuum that decisions are made in at the federal level.

As can be seen on the video at [1], Walker's "Sure" wasn't just throat-clearing: he had no objection to giving citizenship to millions of illegal aliens. Imagine how someone who truly opposes amnesty would respond in such a case. Would they say, "sure"? Or, would they say "no way" and point out the problems inherent in such a legalization plan?

Earlier in the interview, Walker said this:

If people want to come here and work hard in America, I don't care if they come from Mexico, or Canada, or Ireland, or Germany or South Africa or anywhere else, I want them here. To me, if people want to come to live the American dream, if they want to work hard, self-determination and have their kids have a better life, that's what folks like my brothers-in-law who immigrated a generation ago from Mexico or people like my ancestors who came from places like Ireland and Germany and other parts of the world many generations ago. I mean, there's a similar pattern there people who risked a lot whether it was traveling across the ocean or across a national border... Not only do they have to fix things for people already here, find some way to deal with that, there's got to be a larger way to fix the system in the first place because if it wasn't so cumbersome, if there wasn't such a long wait if it wasn't so difficult to get in you wouldn't have the other problems that we have with people who don't have legal status here in the first place.

1. Walker is a typical fiscal conservative in that his only concern is economic: he's not concerned with the political and cultural impacts of immigration. What if, for example, immigration from one country gives that country political power inside the U.S. (see Mexican government)? Walker doesn't care.

2. Walker's idea that today's immigration is like yesteryear's is the immigration tradition fallacy, see the link.

3. Walker is using the system is broken canard.

4. The idea that more legal immigration would dry up illegal immigration is absurd. There's a huge supply of potential illegal aliens, and loosening our immigration laws even more would send a message to them that they should try to come here one way or another. Increasing legal immigration would increase the network effect, encouraging more people to come here one way or another. It would also give more power to the groups that currently support massive and/or illegal immigration.

Despite Walker clearly saying that he would support some kind of mass legalization, he's now trying to dance around it.

On today's "Morning Joe" program, a host said that Walker had "endorsed a pathway to citizenship". Walker responded: "One correction though, on immigration, I talk about fixing the legal immigration system, not going beyond that." [2]

Also today, Matthew Boyle of Breitbart News tries to cover for Walker [3]:

Towards the end of the interview, Bannon noted that "Amnesty is about the sovereignty of the country." But, he asked Walker, "the Washington Post said earlier that you're pro-pathway to citizenship."

"See now that's where they take it out of context," Walker said in response. "I've not said there should be amnesty in this country. I don't believe that. I don't support the legislation being kicked around. What I've said repeatedly is we need to fix the immigration system, but fix the legal system. So if people want to come in this country we should have a legal immigration system."

Bannon then interjected: "And take care of the borders and everything we have to do first."

Walker concurred, saying that any immigration reform efforts should "fix the front door."

"If you're somebody, whether you're from Mexico or Germany or Ireland, and you want to come to this country legally, we should find a way to make it happen," Walker said.

...Walker did not back a pathway to citizenship, as he clearly laid out in his interview with Bannon. At the time [note: apparently that means the Wausau interview], he was presented with a purely hypothetical situation. In laying out his stance back then, something that mainstream media reporters missed, Walker noted that the federal government tends to take a "band-aid approach" to reform of issues, rather than his gubernatorial-style handling of real reform aimed at actually fixing the problem.

To determine for yourself whether Walker was taken out of context, watch the video at [1].

On Nov. 18, 2013, Walker was asked "Do you think the next nominee for the Republican Party has to back a pathway for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country?" on CBS News' This Morning [4]. He responded:

Ah, but see, there's the difference. I talk about a legal pathway towards – not amnesty; not the legislation they're talking about in Washington... Well, to me, the – what we talk about with the debate in Washington is just addressing the symptom, not the overall problem. That's the difference between, again, what I see in the states and see in the federal government. The bigger problem is we don't have a legal immigration system. You know, my-

Then, asked if he would "give them temporary visas on a pathway to citizenship?", Walker said:

Well, I think you've got to fix the front door. Before you talk about who came in, you've got to fix the front door. My ancestors came from Germany and Ireland. My wife's family came from Sicily. My in-laws – my brother's in-laws, I should say, came from Mexico. And in every one of those cases, they came here as immigrants. But we also are a country not only of immigrants, but of laws. And right now, we don't enforce the law for legal immigration on the front end. You could fix all these other problems if we had a successful legal immigration system in – in the United States.

Needless to say, Walker has a set of lines that he trots out when questioned on immigration. At the very least, his supporters will have to admit that he's not a strong and vocal opponent of mass legalization. When given the chance to oppose it, he doesn't. Why won't he do that?

Note also that in December 2012, Walker backed away from his earlier support for an Arizona-style immigration law in his state:

Walker supporters are encouraged to ask him to explicitly oppose any form of mass legalization for 100,000 or more illegal aliens. If he will do that, it will increase his chances of higher office. Write him at @ScottWalker and then tweet @24AheadDotCom_ if he responds.

If Walker refuses to respond, then you know the answer.

12/17/13 UPDATE: The Twitter handle I had for Walker was incorrect, now fixed.

[1] washingtonpost . com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/07/03/

[2] "Scott Walker Tacks Right on Immigration" from DNC_clips: youtube . com/watch?v=7KVwDQD_kGQ

[3] breitbart . com/Big-Government/2013/11/19/

[4] mrc . org/biasalerts/