by Arthur C. Schaper
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s momentous rise in the polls has set him up for his fair share of criticism. Some readers fault the governor for not fighting against the federal judiciary’s imposition of gay marriage. What do concerned partisans expect him to do? Right-to-work advocates fear that Walker will stand down on expanding the reform in his state. Public sector unions have been irreversibly neutered in Area 51 of the Modern Labor Movement, and yet they still complain?
Now critics are panning his potential Presidential candidacy because of some remarks about immigration in 2013. What exactly did Walker say?
“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,” Walker said Tuesday during an interview with the Daily Herald Media Editorial Board of Wisconsin. “I want them here.”
A free-market approach to immigration encourages willing, able-bodied individuals to come to the United States. One issue which immigration activists left and right refuse to talk about, welfare reform, needs attention. Walker mentioned “work hard and benefit” as opposed to “not work and live off public benefits”. Big difference. By the way, Walker has a commendable record on welfare reform. Put a fence around the welfare state, and illegal aliens will self-deport.
The Hill then reported on Walker’s 2013 immigration comments:
Walker was then asked about the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. The editorial board asked if he could “envision a world where with the right penalties and waiting periods and meet the requirements where those people could get citizenship?”
“Sure,” Walker responded. “I mean I think it makes sense.”
While the Wausau Daily offered the misleading headline “Walker endorses path to citizenship“, there is no language in his responses which support that editorialized assertion.
The most aggressive Walker critics cannot arguably counter that the Wisconsin Governor wants to throw American workers under the bus in the name of Hispanic pandering and open our country with unsecured borders. Like a number of reasonable people, he acknowledges that something has to be done about those illegal aliens already living in the country. Before anyone cries “Traitor!” or “McGrahamnesty!”, one should keep in mind that US Senator Ted Cruz has not advocated for en masse deportation of eleven million illegal aliens.
A few months later after the 2013 interview, Walker clarified his remarks:
Well, sure. With one correction, though, on immigration I talked about fixing the legal immigration system, not going beyond that. Yes, the system does need reform. It should not take thirty years for an immigrant to become a legal citizen.
Here are Walker’s comments from this year, on ABC’s This Week:
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, and I think should I become a candidate, because I’m not yet, it’s part of the exploratory process here, that is something we’re going to lay out, plans for the future. But 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.
Does anyone have a problem with this framework on immigration reform? Or do concerned partisans still believe that Walker favors amnesty? Putting aside his recent rhetoric, his record does not support this attack.
In 2011, shortly after assuming office after the first of three statewide election victories, Walker repealed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Didn’t hear about that? Here are specific comments on the issue:
Among the many provisions in his proposed state budget, Gov. Scott Walker wants to repeal a law that allows some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public universities.
Even the New York Times tried to demonize Walker after repealing the program. That’s right, he got rid of it. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, for all his tough talk and bluster, caved in and gave up this issue, even when he had rejected the idea during his 2009 campaign for governor. Walker stuck to his principles, even when immigration activists protested in 2014:
One of those immigrant students is Valeria Gonzalez, who came to the U.S. when she was four years old. She will graduate from UW-Milwuakee in May. She was able to pay in-state tuition because of a state law on the books when she enrolled, allowing it. Gov. Scott Walker, however, removed funding for the program from the budget soon after he was elected in 2010. Gonzalez says there are lots of students who could benefit if the program was reinstated.
Not only did Christie fail on this issue, but Texas Governor Rick Perry signed this provision into law, then took heavy boos from the 2012 Republican Primary crowd. The Texas Republican Party has since pledged to repeal that law. Current Governor Greg Abbot refused to pander for Hispanic votes with amnesty, and he won a greater share of the Hispanic vote in 2014 compared to Perry.
Walker took away in-state tuition for illegals, yet will keep costs down for legal in-state citizens. Along with newly-elected Texas Governor Greg Abbot, Walker has joined the nationwide state-sponsored lawsuit against Obama for his 2014 Executive Amnesty overreach, too. Why has the media not reported on his repeal of in-state tuition for illegal aliens? Why has the media neglected to inform the public about his clarified stance on immigration? Whatever the reasons, Republicans, conservatives in particular, and Americans in general should understand the full nature and import of Walker’s stance on immigration.
Hardly pro-amnesty, Walker repealed in-state tuition for illegal aliens
Is Walker for amnesty? Based on his rhetoric and his record, the answer is no, yet the media still has an uncanny amnesia about Republican governors when their policies and proposals resonated with the Republican base and the country as a whole.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a writer, blogger, and political commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.
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