Monday, February 9, 2015

General Thoughts about Walker on Immigration

For the record, I candidly admit my Scott Walker bromance. I have loved everything about this governor since he stood up to and defeated the public sector unions in Area 51 of the Modern Labor Movement.

Walker the Immigration "Reformer"?

So, it is natural that I will get upset with criticism of Scott Walker, particularly on the subject of his stance on immigration. However, instead of getting angry with Walker critics, even among Tea Party activists and committed conservatives, I want to follow Walker's model, respect the diverse opinions of others, and reach comprehensive conclusions on the matter.

Critics have started panning his potential Presidential candidacy because of a few remarks he made in 2013. I even wrote a letter to the press criticizing any proposal of amnesty, and that Walker should not endorse such a proposal:

Conflicting news reports castigate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on his stance regarding the United States Senate’s recent passage of a loaded immigration bill instead of casting a proper light on his views. The legislation provides a convoluted path to citizenship and rewards lawbreakers with immediate provisional, yet ultimately permanent citizenship, triggered by border control half-measures that will likely not materialize.

The key word for me was "conflicting". What exactly did Walker say? Read his comments below:

 "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 would not discourage willing, able-bodied individuals from coming to the United States. One issue which immigration activists left and right refuse to talk about, welfare reform, is not getting enough attention. Walker mentioned "work hard and benefit" as oppose to "not work and live off public benefits". Big difference. Not only that, but Walker has a commendable record on welfare reform. Put a fence around the welfare state, and many 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.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
after 2014 Electoral victory

The  most partisan of 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. Neither has elder statesman Jeff Sessions, and he has been the chief cheerleader for working Americans against illegal immigration and all purported immigration "reforms".

A few months later, 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, indeed, 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 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?

After President Obama's Executive Amnesties in 2012 and now 2014, the United States has witnessed an unprecedented rise in illegal alien minors crowding the Southern Border and surrendering themselves. The policies which ease and enable illegal alien youth to secure legal status have worsened the border. Like many politicians, Walker did not have hindsight on this development.

Does Walker favor 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? I hadn't either, until I actually researched the policy reform, just as I read his original remarks. Here are specific comments:

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 a Republican Primary crowd for caving on the issue. 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.

As for this year, with Wisconsin's budget up for consideration, look what Walker is planning:

In the meantime, Walker’s plan is likely to freeze tuition for in-state students for the next two years. In-state tuition in the state has been frozen for the past two years.

Walker took away in-state tuition for illegals, yet will keep costs down for in-state citizens. How about that? Why has the media not reported on his repeal of in-state tuition for illegal aliens? Why as 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.
What? Walker for Amnesty?

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.

Is Walker for amnesty? Based on his rhetoric and his record, the answer is  no, yet the media has a canny knack for getting Republican Governors' when their policies and proposals resonated with the Republican base and the country as a whole.

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