Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a frontrunner in many 2016 GOP presidential polls in recent weeks, has come out swinging against the deal House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just cut with congressional Democrats to fund President Obama’s executive amnesty.
The basis of his opposition to the deal is twofold.
First, he doesn’t agree with the way it surrenders Congress’ power of the purse to Obama through at least the end of September, the current fiscal year.
Second, Walker is furious that Democrats who publicly stated many times they opposed the president’s actions didn’t follow through and vote their stated positions.
Also, Walker—whose state of Wisconsin is part of the Texas-led 26-state lawsuit against the president’s actions—says that in addition to states fighting this in court, the Congress needs to do its job to stop Obama, a job that Congress has thus far failed at. Federal judge Andrew S. Hanen has put Obama’s executive amnesty on hold until appeals are completed in the court system–something the administration has reluctantly agreed to comply with.
“The Governor was one of the first to join the lawsuit that has been successful, at least on this initial technicality,” Walker spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski tells Breitbart News. “He hopes to prevail through the courts but he believes that the Congress needs to preserve the power of the purse to fight this overreach by the President. Democrats have questioned the president’s overreach in the past but didn’t hold him accountable when given the opportunity.”
This draws a sharp contrast between Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who hasn’t taken any position on whether Congress should use the power of the purse to stop Obama’s executive amnesty. In fact, Bush’s team hasn’t responded to requests for comment from Breitbart News on that matter over the course of the weeks since Hanen’s ruling. But the day after Hanen’s ruling, Bush said via Facebook that Congress needs to pass amnesty–and that he essentially agrees with the Obama’s policies, just not the way the president acted.
“Last year, the president overstepped his executive authority and, in turn, hurt the effort toward a commonsense immigration solution. That’s not leadership,” Bush wrote on Facebook. “The millions of families affected across the country deserve better. Now, more than ever, we need President Obama to work with Congress to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system.”
Other potential GOP presidential candidates including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and real estate magnate Donald Trump, among others, have all been forceful in calling on Congress to stop Obama’s amnesty with the power of the purse. But this is the first time, here for Breitbart News, that Walker has weighed in on the issue–and it seems to be the beginning of a bold new pro-American position that Walker is angling for on the issue of immigration.
Walker is someone who previously supported bigger government immigration policies, but as he’s learned more about the issue—as is pretty common with many intellectually honest people who dig deeper into the complicated immigration policy world—he has now changed on it.
“I don’t believe in amnesty,” Walker said while being questioned by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace this weekend.
And part of the reason why I made that a firm position is I look at the way that this president has mishandled that issue. I’m one of the governors that joined — I was one of the first governors that joined the lawsuit that has been successful, at least on this initial technicality.
And I hope we prevail ultimately throughout the courts. And then going forward, I think the way you enforce it is not through amnesty. I think the better approach is to enforce the laws and to give employers, job creators, the tools like E-Verify and other things, to make sure the law is being upheld going forward.
That came in response to Wallace playing a video clip of Walker talking to the Wausau Daily Herald, which asked the governor in 2013: “Can you envision a world where with the right penalties and waiting periods and meet the requirements, where those people can get citizenship?”
“Sure, yes. I mean, I think it makes sense,” Walker responded in the clip back then.
After Walker’s response about how he doesn’t support amnesty—something he also told Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon in an exclusive lengthy interview in 2013—Wallace followed back up again. “The question was, can you envision a world where if these people paid a penalty, that they would have a path to citizenship? And you said, sure, that makes sense,” Wallace said.
“I believe there’s a way that you can do that. First and foremost, you’ve got to secure that border or none of these plans make any sense,” Walker replied.
“But it’s a little bit slippery here. Back when you were the Milwaukee County executive, you actually supported the Kennedy-McCain comprehensive immigration plan,” Wallace pressed on. “Are you basically saying as part of a comprehensive plan, tough enforcement, E-Verify, the 11 million people already here paid penalty, they get citizenship?”
“No, I’m not talking about amnesty. And even I said the reason for that is over time,” Walker responded.
After some crosstalk, Wallace further pressed: “But you said you supported it.”
Walker then said he’s changed on immigration.
“And my view has changed. I’m flat out saying it. Candidates can say that. Sometimes they don’t,” Walker said.
“So, you’ve changed from 2013?” Wallace asked.
“Absolutely. I look at the problems we’ve experienced for the last few years. I’ve talked to governors on the border and others out there,” Walker replied.
I’ve talked to people all across America. And the concerns I have is that we need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works. A legal immigration system that works. And part of doing this is put the onus on employers, getting them E-Verify and tools to do that. But I don’t think you do it through amnesty.
That exchange gives Walker a new, fresh start in terms of going after immigration policy heading into 2016. While Walker hasn’t gone there yet at all on immigration, if he does take the road that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is pushing—a populist immigration policy that sticks up for American workers over special interests like labor unions, big business, high tech lobbyists and career politicians who all have a vested interested in one way or another in increasing immigration numbers to the U.S.—he could clear the 2016 field easily.
Walker, the man who stood up for working Wisconsinites against big labor, is a natural candidate to do so.
Any candidate who’s read the employment statistics knows there isn’t a labor shortage in the U.S. The special interests—unions, companies, politicians—telling them there is a labor shortage in America, either in high or low skilled labor, are simply not telling the truth.
Writing for IEEE Spectrum, a trade publication, Robert Charette detailed in 2013 that the so-called “STEM Crisis”—a supposed shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) talent in America—is a myth.
In addition, with regard to low-skilled labor, there are a record number of Americans out of the workforce according to numbers released in January by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — nearly 93 million. From 2000 through 2014, according to the federal government’s own data as calculated by the think tank the Center for Immigration Studies, all net employment gain has gone to immigrants—both legal and illegal—rather than Americans.
It’s easy for a politician to discuss securing the border and conducting interior immigration enforcement—thereby securing the country from future illegal immigration. The next step, before discussing what to do with illegal aliens here in the country—which Walker is right about when he says eventually those people will likely get some type of legal status one day—is what to do about creating an immigration policy in the national interest. With the exception of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and real estate magnate Donald Trump, no 2016 GOP presidential candidates have really explored publicly or have shown they understand the topic of the economic effects of open borders policies.
In a speech in Iowa in January, Santorum honed in on exactly this issue.
“Since 2000, there have been 6 million net new jobs in America, 6 million net new jobs since 2000,” Santorum said.
How many of those net new jobs are held by people who are not from this country? All of them. All of them. There are fewer Americans working today who were born in this country than there were in the year 2000 in spite of 17 million more in the work force.
So when people say we have to do something about the border and we have to do something about illegal immigration, they’re right, we do. We have to secure the border. I was just down in Arizona talking to folks and it’s horrendous the things that are going on on the border from a national security perspective as well as what the president is doing. But we also have a problem with legal immigration.
Legal immigration is at an all time high. There have been more people legally coming to this country in the last 20 years than at any time period in American history. We are approaching percentage-wise the highest number of immigrants we’ve ever had in America, almost 14 percent now. It was 14.2 percent at the end of the great wave in 1920.
There are more people not born in this country than there have ever been in the history of this country and it’s affecting American workers. Why? Because the vast majority of people coming into this country come in under chain migration and they are unskilled. We all know there aren’t a huge number of jobs for unskilled laborers and as a result wages stagnate. We need to stand for an immigration policy that puts Americans first and American workers first.
The audience applauded loudly before Santorum then detailed how “this isn’t anti-immigrant” and how he’s for legal immigration. “In 1920, after 40 years of a great wave the Congress passed a bill because they were up to 14 percent of the workforce and it was having an effect on the labor markets,” Santorum said.
So what the Congress did was pass the immigration act of 1921 and three years later of 1924. Do you know what they passed by? Unanimous in the House. One vote in the Senate against on the first one and nine votes against on the second. It was a bipartisan issue because even during the Progressive Era which this was the tail end of, Republicans and Democrats put you first.
Polling data shows overwhelming supermajorities of Americans favor immigration policies such as those Sessions and Santorum have laid out. Pollster Kellyanne Conway, who conducted the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll and spoke on the same stage as Santorum and Walker in Des Moines at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, found recently that more 70 percent in most cases of all Americans want American jobs to go to U.S. workers first.
Here’s a key section of Sen. Sessions’ recently released immigration handbook for the new GOP majority in Congress:
Here are the findings from a poll of likely U.S. voters commissioned by GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway: 77% of respondents said jobs should go to current U.S.-born workers or legal immigrants already in the country—instead of bringing in new workers to fill those jobs, 88% of conservatives, 78% of moderates, 78% of independents, 71% of Democrats and 62% of liberals says current U.S. workers should get jobs preference, 80% of respondents said businesses should recruit the currently unemployed instead of expanding the labor supply with new workers from other countries, 86% of black voters and 71% of
Hispanic voters said companies should raise wages and improve working conditions instead of increasing immigration, 76% of respondents said people who overstayed their visas should be encouraged to return home, by a 2-1 margin, respondents said illegal immigrants should be encouraged to return home by closing off access to jobs and welfare benefits, and three in four respondents wished to see substantial immigration cuts.”
Similar results were uncovered by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in a poll it had firm Paragon Insights conduct.
Now, again, Walker hasn’t laid out a plan on immigration—at least not yet—in any substantive way. But if he does so early enough, and thoughtfully and forcefully enough, he could win easily in the GOP primary and stomp the Democrat in the general.