Walker: Make legal immigration easier
November 22nd, 2013
11:44 AM ET
9 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. Donna

    The Tea Party wants to take us back to the good ol days .
    As in pre victorian era .

    Better than the days that the Democrats and liberal leftists want to bring us back to.... 1935 Soviet Union.

    November 22, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. PaulCat

    Remember Gov. Walker promise the people of Wisconsin one thing, but once he was elected, he did just the opposite.

    Fool me once............................

    November 22, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. Boomer in Mo

    Having to pay bribes to the guards, secretaries and a host of other people at U.S. Embassies in order to even apply for a visa is a huge problem. Making it a criminal offense, with a required prison sentence, to employee an illegal would go a long way toward solving the immigration problem, too. If they can't find work, most won't come here.

    November 22, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Scott Walker don’t have any clue about immigration
    We don’t need words we need action,
    If Scott Walker serious about immigration reform he will push congress to pass the senate immigration bill

    November 22, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. norma jean

    Anonymous speaks of "our country" being invaded........ {{ actually by the people we took most of it away from]}!


    November 22, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. annonymous

    I agree the immigration process should be reformed for all peoples wanting to immigrate to the US. No amnesty for illegals or criminals who are in our country illegally, period. Nor should we favor wetbacks over any other ethnic group.

    November 22, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    None, practically none of the GOP guys are viable candidates now, this including Chris Christie. Period. Before they think they better come to the planet Earth.

    November 22, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. gop usa

    Deport every single last Illegal Mexican. Who cares if they feel sad, or upset over this, they dont count and never will. These people come here only for one reason and that is to steal from the American People.

    November 22, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Lisa P.

    "...people who have done successful things in their states..."

    Well I guess that disqualifies Governor Walker, unless you count having a partisan Legislature pass partisan elements of your highly partisan hugely destructive agenda. Whatever happened to those 250,000 jobs, Governor Walker? It's easy to be "optimistic" when all you ever listen to is your own media echo chamber. Wisconsin has become the prime example of the damage that right-wing radio and conservative "think tank"/dark money campaign propaganda fabricators can do to democracy. And where democracy goes it looks like the economy follows, for 99% of us at least. The other 1% is funding Governor Walker and his gerrymandered rubberstamp Legislature.

    November 22, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Silence DoGood

    @Tommy G "so that the laws of this nation can once again be enforced"

    So you must really want the A.C.A. LAW enforced then right? (sorry – that was too easy)

    November 22, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    Hey walker, don't waste your time. There are not enough illegal immigrants from any country in your cold state of WI and you will NEVER be president.
    You are not even preaching to the choir. LOL
    @anonymous, what about the illegal immigrants who come in from Canada. You know, the ones from Europe who look like us who are also in this country illegally?

    November 22, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Build a wall with 100yds of land mines in front and behind the wall."

    Yeah, screw our laws and international laws regarding use of land mines!!! We gotta stop this country from getting any browner!!!!111!!!1 Grumble blah blah soshulizm Benghazi Obamacare herpa derp!!1!!!one!!!!eleventy!!!

    November 22, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "You mean make it easier than walking across the border "

    Can we please drop you off at the start of one of the most often used routes through the desert? Let's see how "easy" you think it is then.

    November 22, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "11 million illegal and 4 million legal immigrants are suffering.. is it small enough to ignore? god plz open republican's eyes..."

    Considering there are 17 million children going hungry in America and the GOP/Teatrolls solution is to try to cut food stamps by $40B and cause 5 million people to lose them, it's sort of a toss up whether it's better to have the GOP/Teatrolls pay attention to something or not, especially since their overall aim is to break the gov't to "prove" it's broken.

    November 22, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. Anonymous


    Hit a nerve? Too bad. Your hateful, screaming answers are like water off a duck's back.

    November 22, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. Randy, San Francisco

    If Gov Walker isn't careful, he will be the target of a purge by Tea Partiers and anti-immigration conservatives. He will join Gov Christie in the RINO dog house.

    November 22, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine


    The Tea Party wants to take us back to the good ol days .
    As in pre victorian era .

    Better than the days that the Democrats and liberal leftists want to bring us back to.... 1935 Soviet Union.
    Oh jeez, I guess we made a mistake: we meant the days the GOP wants to go back to are 1933 Germany: Kristalnacht, anyone? Since your side is so intent on conducting purity tests, we figured you would perfer that. And the Tea Party seems to fancy themselves as the new Stormtroopers anyway. Ein Volk, ein Cruz.

    November 22, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    10th in the country in job creation to 46th, literally in 1 year. How in the hell can anyone justify a Walker presidential run? Christie is not much better, and Govenor Ooops managed to have job growht through skillful use of stim funds and an expolosion of part-time work with no benefits. Any other great candidates, GOPers?

    November 22, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Fair is Fair


    "You mean make it easier than walking across the border "

    Can we please drop you off at the start of one of the most often used routes through the desert? Let's see how "easy" you think it is then.
    And yet they still stream in by the millions, and you sit back, licking your chops at the prospect of rewarding them with the franchise because, after all, they're going to vote for your guy, right?

    November 22, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. jack

    Wait until Limbaugh hears this!!!!!

    November 22, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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