Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker supports path to citizenship

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by Chris Patterson

(CNN) -- Republican Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he supported the immigration bill passed by the U.S. Senate last week, although he indicated it doesn't go far enough.

 
In an interview with the Wisconsin Daily Herald media editorial board, Walker acknowledged the dependency of Wisconsin farms on migrant workers, many of them undocumented. He argued against currently onerous challenges for workers to come to the United States legally.
 
"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 told the editorial board. "I want them here."
 
While the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed immigration reform last week 68-32, the bill, which would create a 13-year path to citizenship and double border security, faces a much harder fight in the House of Representatives. A number of conservative GOP leaders have criticized the path to citizenship as amnesty that rewards lawbreakers.
 
The GOP has said the bill would need "triggers" where the government could move to begin granting legal status to the undocumented only when there were guarantees that the border was secure.
 
Walker, who has been named as a possible 2016 presidential contender, has changed his stance on immigration over the years. According to the Daily Herald, during his 2010 gubernatorial bid he said he would support legislation allowing police to stop those they suspected were illegal immigrants. Two years later, he no longer supported such a bill.
 
Today, Walker believes the path to citizenship should be easier, not harder. "Not only do they need to fix things for people already here, or find some way to do it, there's got to be a larger way to fix the system in the first place," he said. "Because if it wasn't so cumbersome, if there wasn't such a long wait, if it wasn't so difficult to get in, we wouldn't have the other problems that we have (with people living here illegally)."

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