Walker: Make legal immigration easier
November 22nd, 2013
11:44 AM ET
5 years ago

Walker: Make legal immigration easier

Washington (CNN) – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Friday that the key to fixing the country's immigration system is by making it easier for qualified immigrants to come to the United States legally, not by solely focusing on what to do with the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.

"From an immigration standpoint, it is simple," Walker, a Republican, said. "If you want to come into America today legally, it is very, very difficult, from my point of view, to do so on a timely basis… We should be finding a way for that to be easier to do in the United States."

Walker, who made his comments during a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast in Washington, D.C., said that too often politicians in Washington are missing the point on immigration.

Related: Wisconsin Gov. Walker not ruling out a presidential bid

"So often in this city, people look at the symptoms, not at the larger problem," he said. "The symptom is whatever the number of people who are currently in this country illegally. The larger problem is there is not an effective way to come in the front door."

He continued: "For me, I would open the door to making sure people can come legally to this country. People who want to live the American dream are exactly the kind of people this country was based on."

After President Barack Obama won reelection in 2012, his administration looked to live up to a first-term promise and pass immigration reform. With the backing of religious and business groups, the Senate passed immigration reform in June – with some GOP support – that includes an eventual pathway to citizenship.

Since that passage, however, the House has done little to move on the issue. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner insisted that immigration reform was "absolutely not" dead, but last week he said he had "no intention" of negotiating with the Democratic led Senate over its comprehensive immigration proposal.

Instead, many Republicans in Congress want to deal with immigration reform through a number of smaller bills – not one larger piece of legislation. Some House Democrats have said they won't agree to that approach.

Related: Gov. Walker says Rep. Paul Ryan is 'exception' to 2016 D.C. outsider ideal

Walker admitted during the hour-long question and answer sessions that he didn't "have a perfect plan," but said "the plans being discussed right now in Washington are far insignificant to the larger problem."

Walker, who is up for reelection in Wisconsin in 2014, is traveling around the country promoting his new book, "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," a chronicle of his time as governor and his ideas on leadership.

The Wisconsin Republican, who survived a contentious recall election in 2012 after he curbed collective bargaining rights of union in his state, has not been shy about subtly stoking the fire of a possible 2016 presidential run.

In an interview with ABC over the weekend, Walker's description of the type of nominee Republicans need in 2016 sounded awfully like himself.

"I think it's got to be an outsider. I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor – people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms," he told ABC's Jonathan Karl in an interview that aired Sunday on "This Week."

In the same interview, Walker refused to commit to serving out a second term if he is reelected in 2014.

On Friday, Walker made similar statements, telling the assembled journalists that the ideal candidate in 2016 would be a "reformer governor" and someone with executive experience.

He also tipped his hand to a possible message he would use if he were to run in 2016.

"We cannot be viewed as the party of no," Walker said about the GOP. "In the states where we are successful… we are not the party of no. We are optimistic."

CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Scott Walker
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    What Scott Walker needs to focus on is Wisconsin and how they're changing voting laws in his state. Immigration doesn't mean jack when you're stripping away our freedoms.

    November 22, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    One has to wonder why anyone wants to come here, today.........while we have a dictatorship in place, in America.

    People used to come here for freedom. That day is past.

    November 22, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Make immigration easier? That doesn't address the problem of the 10 to ??? million who are already here illegally, which we all lknow that conservatives want to stay here, under the radar, as a slave wages, work force. The fact that Walker is anti-union is an undeniable fact.. What Walker is really saying is that he wants to flood the work force with people, which drives down wages.

    And, contraty to popular right wing fiction, most of the undocumented workers and aliens did not sneak across the border. The vast majority came here legally on work visas and permits, and then simply overstayed them. Walker is suggesting that we make it easer for people to enter the country to work by getting rid of the "overstaying your documents" problem.

    November 22, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. Anonymous

    What we need is a FULLY PROTECTED AND SECURE SOUTHERN BORDER!! Step ONE. Nothing else matters until that is done and the invasion of our country is stopped.

    And visa overstayers? Round them up and deport them immediately. Step TWO. Going forward, require eveybody comin gwith a visa to put up a $10,000 bond. They don't leave, the bounty hunters can track them down for us. Then we deport them, and never allow another visa into the USA.

    November 22, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    We;ve had a Rand Paul week. A Chris Christie week seemed to be last week. This week has definitely been Hillary Clinton week. I guess next week might be a somebody else week. Scott Walker is on a book tour, so maybe it'll be him.

    November 22, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. luke,az

    Republicans are trying to pivot. Won't work. They have dug a hole too deep, that they won't get out of for another 100 years. Republicans have become the new confederates.

    November 22, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Walker knows that the ideal republican candidate for president in 2016 should have a high school diploma, oppose minimum wages, and be anti union. Sounds like he is the best the Kochs have.

    November 22, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Republicans want State's rights to rule America.

    Rick Perry wants a secure border.

    Build your own fence along Texas' border, Rick. Heaven knows you have collected enough of our property
    tax money to build it. Since you aren't interested in building our children's future through education as
    should be done, or, dare I say, health insurance for those who need it, use it somewhere.

    November 22, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Someone didn't get the memo....

    Walkback in 3...2...1...

    November 22, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Gov. Scott Walker online University .

    WhatsAMata U

    November 22, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @Rick McDaniel "One has to wonder why anyone wants to come here, today........"

    Talking to a few of them would cure your ignorance, but you would have to let go of the Radical Right Mythology.

    November 22, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Arizona Immigration Laws Work

    Walker is a traitor to the American Worker and Taxpayer, I urge the gop to not support any lawmaker that supports Illegal Mexicans over the American Workers interests. Deport the illegal Mexicans, do not reward these criminals that bankrupt our schools and communitys, lower wages and steal from the American people. These illegal Mexicans only care for what they can take from America, nothing else. Deport these illegal Mexican criminals

    November 22, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Tommy

    Rudy NYC – million who are already here illegally, which we all lknow that conservatives want to stay here
    luke,az – Republicans are trying to pivot.

    Looks like Obama's lesson about telling lies hasn't filtered down to the droid level yet.

    November 22, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    You mean make it easier than walking across the border and collect entitlements in a sanctuary city? How? Give them a limo ride?

    November 22, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Venu

    No one talks about broken legal immigration system. The problem, as rightly pointed in the article, is the uncertainty facing the legal immigrants due to long waiting for green card/citizenship. Lawmakers don't care because we pay taxes without being entitled to any benefits now or later and because we don't have votes. I dont understand why legal immigration changes are held hostage by changes to illegal immigration.
    Congress, Senate, president have time and resources to try to resolve international conflicts and no time for people suffering in their own country.... 11 million illegal and 4 million legal immigrants are suffering.. is it small enough to ignore? god plz open republican's eyes...

    November 22, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Hector Slagg

    You want everything straightened out? When do you want it? Why do you want it? So why do you keep electing un qualified rep's? No one is going to force any immigration changes. Too many of them are using someone elses Social Security Number.They will never get that back. I don't know how hard it is to come the legal way but I understand over a million come every year, legally.. If so the law isn't broken, except for those that want Amnesty.

    November 22, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. Me


    The tea party alway screams "they want to take our Country back".............

    So do I. I want to take it back from the tea party, the Koch Bros, the SCOTUS rulings, and all republicans.

    They can also forget about me participating in their bogus "Small Business Day", Saturday, Nov 26, that
    promotes shopping at small businesses.

    Time to take a stand.

    They don't need my money and I don't need them.
    Stop being a partisan hack, small business Saturday was founded by American Express and has NOTHING to do with the koch brothers. It was started to try and promot small businesses and keep them alive in America. You are a typical NO information liberal, you should keep you mouth shut unless you know what you are talking about!!!!

    November 22, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. smith

    Build a wall with 100yds of land mines in front and behind the wall. As far as legal immigration lets keep the same system that is already working.

    November 22, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. sonny chapman

    Senor~ Actions speak louder than words. Amigos, don't hold your breath for the Tea-Party/Repubs. to do the Christlike thing. "I was a stranger & you did/did not welcome me. Matthew 25.

    November 22, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Me


    Republicans are trying to pivot. Won't work. They have dug a hole too deep, that they won't get out of for another 100 years. Republicans have become the new confederates.
    Yep sure buddy that is why Obama's approval rates are right in line with Bush's at the same time of his presidency and will probably fall LOWER than Bush’s before his term is up!!! Dems approval ratings are plummeting as well!!! Keep drinking the kool-aid!! LMFAO On a side note I really would like to know what is in the kool-aid, must be some really good stuff to keep you people believing!

    November 22, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Bob

    First of all you can't fix legal immigration until you fix illegal aliens Walker (I know this is a gop thing but try thinking). Try making E-Verify mandatory nationwide with huge fines/jail/loss of business license and then there will be no jobs for illegal aliens and they will leave on there own and have no reason to come NOW work on making it easier for legal immigrants. P.S. Please run for President thus assuring another Democratic President.

    November 22, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Tommy G

    The only thing "broken" in our current immigration system are politicians like Obama and Eric Holder that refuse to enforce the laws of this nation and actively attack those that do. Obama circumvented Congress with dictatorial powers to grant amnesty to people even after Congress refuse to approve it. Holder sues state governments and local authorities for enforcing this nations laws when the federal government refuses to enforce them.

    A MAJOR step in this process will be to remove these lawless criminals from office so that the laws of this nation can once again be enforced, not subverted.

    November 22, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Thomas

    The Tea Party wants to take us back to the good ol days .

    As in pre victorian era .

    November 22, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Galactus

    Tens of millions of Americans are currently unemployed and millions of college students who graduate can't find jobs to fit their level of education. We need MORE JOBS in the United States not more immigrants. Its time the Federal Government start doing their job and enforce our immigration laws and deport the 12 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States today. These Illegal aliens are NOT WELCOME here.

    November 22, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. just asking

    sonny chapman
    Senor~ Actions speak louder than words. Amigos, don't hold your breath for the Tea-Party/Repubs. to do the Christlike thing. "I was a stranger & you did/did not welcome me. Matthew 25.

    more like "I was a crimnial country invader & you did not welcome me."

    that ius the correct quote. we have laws that say you are a criminal trespasser in this country and need to go back from whence you came. of course, you knew this when you broke our laws and came here so this is not news to you.

    November 22, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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