Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has gotten the message from the GOP base that immigration is an important issue—and that it’s not all just about securing the border, but also that American workers need to be protected.
In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday evening, Walker showed he’s grown leaps and bounds on the issue of illegal immigration—and the effect it has on the economy—saying for the first time he’s going to stand up for American workers against corporate interests lobbying for a massive increase in cheap foreign workers.
Hannity mentioned previous criticisms of Walker on immigration before asking him about his border trip with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
“I went to Texas to the border with Governor Greg Abbott who offered,” Walker responded. “I’m going to go back to Arizona and New Mexico and maybe to California with local and state officials there as well, but in Texas in particular 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.”
“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,” he explained. “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. The federal government needs to step up and act.”
The most impressive part of Walker’s answer came at the end, where he didn’t just leave the issue at border security—he said that’s just step one, but after that’s completed there needs to an immigration policy that serves the national interest and protects American workers from cheap foreign labor that forces like the Chamber of Commerce, major labor unions, and other elitists are pushing for. He used language that sounds like it came from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the immigration populist who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest—and specifically noted that wages of “American workers” must be protected.
“You can’t be talking about anything else until you do that,” Walker said. “Once you do that you can then we can talk about enforcing the laws by using an effective e-verify system for all employers, one that works for small businesses, farmers, and ranchers and making sure that any legal immigration, 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. That’s the way we prosper for every hard working American in this country.”
Polling from several major firms, including KellyAnne Conway’s and Paragon Insights—which did its polling on this for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)—have shown immigration polls extraordinarily well with not just Republicans but Democrats as well. If Walker stays on this path, it could mean bad news for the rest of the GOP field.