Liberals Sputter As Scott Walker Proposes Bold New Immigration Platform

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is marching forward with his bold new pro-American worker immigration policy. He’s not afraid to push for a legal immigration system that doesn’t box out American workers with a massive influx of inexpensive foreign labor.

After first rolling out his new ideas on Glenn Beck’s radio program on Monday, Walker appeared on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly’s show to further elaborate on how he hopes to protect Americans economically from special interests pushing for a massive influx in cheap foreign labor from around the world.

“When it comes to immigration, as a governor I don’t have any direct role in that—but having talked to border state governors and having talked to other people, seeing how screwed up immigration has become under this president, it was clear to me talking to them and listening on this issue, traveling to the border actually going there with the governor of Texas Gov. Abbott, seeing the problems there, yeah from my standpoint going forward we need to secure the border, we need to enforce the laws that we currently have with an e-verify system,” Walker said.

“You’re pretty much in line with the other Republican candidates on this,” Kelly asked as a follow-up.

“Well the one thing they’re not saying is we need to make sure as part of that any future legal immigration system that goes forward has to account for American citizens and the workers of this country and their wages to make sure that even with legal immigration in this country we respond to it in a way that doesn’t take jobs away from hardworking Americans,” Walker added, separating himself from the rest of the 2016 field.

Since Walker has moved forward with this new strong pro-American worker position on immigration, he’s been berated by strongholds of the liberal establishment including MSNBC, Mother Jones magazine and the Huffington Post.

The Huffington Post attacked Walker in a blaring headline on Monday night: “Scott Walker Tacks Far Right On Immigration.”

In the piece, written by Igor Bobic, the Huffington Post argues that Walker “may be hoping to placate conservatives wary over his previous support for a pathway to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants.”

Walker’s strategy is somewhat reminiscent of then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who, faced with similar questions over his devotion to the conservative cause in 2011, memorably tacked far right of his GOP rivals by endorsing “self-deportation.”

Yet not even Romney, who lost the Latino vote to Obama by more than 40 percentage points in November 2012, supported curbing legal immigration, a concept at the core of what it means to be American. Walker’s pivot to the general election, if he makes it that far, could prove difficult, given that he will need to seek the votes of many Americans who immigrated here themselves — or whose parents or grandparents did so.

There are several things wrong with what Bobic wrote, but for starters, what Walker is proposing is an immigration policy that ensures American workers and legal immigrants already here have jobs before new foreign workers are brought into the country to compete for scarce employment opportunities.

What Bobic leaves out of his piece is that Democrats and leftists—even labor unions—used to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Republicans in fighting against open borders policies that hurt American workers. For instance, liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) helped kill the amnesty and legal immigration increase effort by Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) during the George W. Bush presidency on the grounds that it would result in union workers in California losing their jobs. But she has abandoned that position to join open borders advocates by voting for the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill last Congress.

The late Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-TX), an influential member of the Congressional Black Caucus when she represented Houston in Congress, led an effort to protect not just the black community but all Americans from both illegal and legal immigration. And of course, Coretta Scott King—the now deceased widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.—famously wrote to Congress back in the early 1990s to call for economic protections for the struggling black community when it came to immigration levels both legal and illegal.

That’s not to mention that even Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid stood up protecting American workers back in the 1990s from high immigration levels—before the Democratic Party made a clear and conscious decision to aim to change American demographics and engage in open racial pandering.

In addition to the Democrats completely shifting from where they used to stand, most in the GOP establishment have moved away from protecting Americans as well—in large part due to the special interests and big business lobbyists pushing for a massive influx in cheap foreign labor. That’s what terrifies Washington so much about a viable candidate for the presidency like Walker coming out as strongly as he has as an immigration populist—and why the long knives are out to get him from pretty much everybody.

Bobic’s mistaken narrative notwithstanding, however, the entire institutional left has since joined The Huffington Post in driving this anti-Walker narrative in the wake of his bold new position. MSNBC’s Steve Benen attacked Walker using Bobic’s piece to argue that Walker doesn’t stand a chance at winning any more Hispanic voters than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

“In the last presidential election, Mitt Romney positioned himself as the most anti-immigration general-election candidate Americans have seen in a generation. The Republican nominee opposed both comprehensive reform and the Dream Act; he endorsed ‘self-deportation’; he criticized bilingualism; and he casually threw around words like ‘amnesty’ and ‘illegals’ as staples of his campaign rhetoric,” Benen wrote. “It was tough to imagine what more Romney could have done to alienate immigrant communities, and the results were predictable: President Obama received over 70% of the Latino vote. How much worse can Republicans make matters? The party’s 2016 candidates can do the one thing Romney didn’t: go after legal immigration.”

What’s perhaps more interesting—and another fact that Benen leaves out of his piece—is that polling shows that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has barely any distinguishable differences from Democrats on immigration, if any at all, is actually polling worse among Hispanics against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton than Romney performed against Obama. Bush, according to two recent ABC News and Washington Post polls, trails Clinton among Hispanic voters by an even worse margin than by which Romney lost—71 percent for Clinton to 26 percent for Bush. So much for MSNBC’s advice to Republicans like Walker.

It doesn’t stop there, though. The extra-liberal Mother Jones magazine—which is openly supportive of progressivism and worked overtime to try to oust Walker in his recall election and his re-election—cited an ex-Walker aide, Liz Mair, to attack him.

“Liz Mair, the GOP operative who resigned from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign-in-waiting after a day on the job, is in campaign mode again—and this time, she’s targeting her former boss,” Mother Jones’ Sam Brodey wrote. “On Tuesday morning, Mair sent an email detailing Walker’s ‘Olympic-quality flip-flop’ on the issue of immigration.”

Brodey added that Mair’s email says that “historically, Walker has hardly been an immigration hard-liner: in 2013, he vocally supported expanding legal immigration, and as recently as March, he said he was in favor of giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. She suggested that Walker’s back-tracking could make him an easy target for strong GOP rivals.”

Mair, who’s a supporter of open borders and an unashamed amnesty advocate who supported Rubio’s “Gang of Eight” bill last Congress, was fired from the Walker campaign after a series of questionable moves—including her open support for amnesty and open borders. She also openly attacked Iowans in Tweets before she was hired with Walker, which played a big factor in Walker’s decision to fire her.

Mother Jones is hardly the only liberal outlet to use Mair’s negativity about her former employer to attack Walker. Bobic used her comments in his piece, as did MSNBC and the Washington Post—which also attacked Walker.

Mair’s commentary aside, most conservative leaders side with the position Walker has now aggressively taken on immigration—a position that’s been articulated by Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest chairman Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

“The last thing low-skilled native and immigrant workers already here should have to deal with is wage-depressing competition from newly arriving workers,” National Review editor Rich Lowry and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol wrote in a joint op-ed while fighting Rubio’s Gang of Eight bill last Congress. “Nor is the new immigration under the bill a panacea for the long-term fiscal ills of entitlements, as often argued, because those programs are redistributive and most of the immigrants will be low-income workers.”

Kristol, in separate commentary on July 15, 2013, added that Rubio’s Gang of Eight bill has a “huge increase in immigration in that bill, two to three times the number of immigrants over the next decade as over the last decade. And that is bad for working class and middle class wages and economic opportunity in this country. And I think that’s something Republicans need to get serious about.”

The National Review editorial board wrote on June 17, 2013, about Rubio’s bill that “the creation of a large population of second-class workers is undesirable from the point of view of the American national interest, which should be our guiding force in this matter.”

“The United States is a nation with an economy, not an economy with a nation,” the editors of the National Review added.

Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson questioned on Fox News in December 2012 whether the U.S. should have such an increase in legal immigration. “Does the United States need massive new numbers of the low-skilled immigrants in a post-industrial economy? Is that good for the United States?” Carlson said.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote in February 2014 a column that echoed each of the above. “A reasonable immigration compromise would… privilege high-skilled immigration over low-skilled immigration, given the unemployment crisis among low-skilled native workers and the larger social crisis that threatens to slow assimilation and upward mobility alike,” Douthat wrote, noting that the GOP establishment has abandoned American workers. “But the House leadership seems to favor an approach that would create… looser labor markets, continued wage stagnation and fewer jobs for the existing unemployed.”

“History shows that granting such legal status [to illegal immigrants] is not without profound and substantial costs to American workers. Does Congress care?” Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission added in a June 11, 2013, op-ed.

“Virtually every kind of ‘work that Americans will not do’ is in fact work that Americans have done for generations,” Thomas Sowell, a conservative columnist, added the same day. “In many cases, most of the people doing that work today are Americans.”

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York has also written frequently about this topic, most recently touting polling numbers from Gallup that found Americans by and large side with Sessions—and now with Walker.

“Gallup recently asked adults around the country a very simple question about immigration: Are you satisfied, or dissatisfied, with the level of immigration into the United States today? Are too many immigrants coming? Too few? Or is the number just about right?” York wrote in January.

Before giving the results, it’s important to note what that number is. The U.S. awards legal permanent resident status — a green card, which means lifetime residency plus the option of citizenship — to about one million people per year, a rate Sen. Marco Rubio calls “the most generous” on earth. In addition, the government hands out more than a half-million student and exchange visas each year, tens of thousands of refugee admissions, and about 700,000 visas to temporary workers and their families. The percentage of foreign born in the U.S. population is heading toward levels not seen since the period of 1890 to 1910.

York then described the actual results—which were astoundingly in Walker’s favor.

“So is that too much, or too little? Gallup found that 47 percent of Americans believe the level of immigration should stay where it is,” York wrote. “Thirty-nine percent want to see it decreased. And just seven percent want it increased. (The remaining seven percent said they don’t know.).”


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