Scott Walker takes yet another stance on birthright citizenship: Don’t change … – Chicago Tribune
GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker appears to have again shifted his stance on allowing the children of illegal immigrants to automatically gain U.S. citizenship.
In an interview on Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week,” the Wisconsin governor said he does not want to alter the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States . . . are citizens of the United States.” Nearly a week before, Walker said he wanted to end birthright citizenship and would not say then whether he agreed with the 14th Amendment.
“This Week” host George Stephanopoulos repeatedly asked Walker on Sunday about birthright citizenship, eventually asking, “You’re not seeking to repeal or alter the 14th Amendment?”
“No,” Walker said. “My point is, any discussion that goes beyond securing the border and enforcing laws are things that should be a red flag to voters out there who for years have heard lip service from politicians and are understandably angry.”
A national debate over birthright citizenship erupted last weekend when GOP front-runner Donald Trump proposed ending it. Many GOP candidates have taken a firm position on the issue, but Walker has given various answers that appear to show a changing stance.
Walker said Monday that he supported ending birthright citizenship, then said later in the day that the problem could be addressed by enforcing other laws. On Friday, Walker said he didn’t have a position on the issue. On Sunday, Walker said he did not want to alter the 14th Amendment.
Walker’s campaign staff says that the candidate’s position has not changed this past week. Here’s what Walker has said — or not said — on the issue:
Last Monday, early morning: Walker says his immigration stances are “very similar” to those of Trump. In the interview on Fox News, he does not specifically address birthright citizenship.
Monday, mid-morning: At the Iowa State Fair, Walker is repeatedly asked by reporters whether he wants to end birthright citizenship and he repeatedly says that the United States must first address other immigration issues, including securing the border and enforcing labor laws. But he says that he has concerns about birthright citizenship, including in this answer to a swarm of reporters: “I think in terms of changing it, even [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid said that it’s not right for a country to Americanize birthright for people who have not — for families who have not come in legally. But in terms of going forward, I’m going to support a legal immigration system that puts a priority on the impact on American working families and their wages.”
Reporters continue to push Walker for specifics and ask whether he would deport the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. He responds: “I’ve talked about how going forward I believe we should change the rules, the law, but I think in terms of deporting, the best thing we can do is enforce the law. If we enforce the law and require employers across America to uphold the law — which means an effective e-verify system — I think that ultimately puts us in a good place.”
Monday, late morning: Walker, roaming at the fair, tells MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt that birthright citizenship should “yeah, absolutely, going forward,” be ended.
Monday, early afternoon: Walker won’t say whether he wants to change the Constitution. While continuing to tour the fair, I ask Walker: “The Constitution says that if you’re born here, you’re an American citizen. Do you believe in that? Would you be up for changing that?” He responds: “Well, again, I think before we start talking about anything else beyond securing the border, enforcing the laws and having a legal immigration system that works and gives priority for American working families, Americans aren’t going to trust politicians to talk about other things until they feel confident they’re going to do those things. So I think we need to reform that first.”
Monday, mid-afternoon: A Walker spokeswoman says that he wants to “end the birthright citizenship problem.” Throughout the morning, Walker’s campaign staff pushes back against Hunt’s account, which was first reported on Twitter. Once video of the exchange is posted online, spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski writes in an e-mail: “We have to enforce the laws, keep people from coming here illegally, enforce e-verify to stop the jobs magnet and by addressing the root problems we will end the birthright citizenship problem.” She won’t say what the governor’s position is on the issue.
Monday evening: During a campaign stop at a Maid-Rite restaurant in Webster City, Iowa, Walker will not say where he stands on birthright citizenship. I ask him to explain his comments to Hunt: Is that what he truly believes? Or did he misspeak? Walker responds: “We had a three-hour roving gaggle there, and so you answer part of a question, somebody turns and asks you something. And my point is: Yeah, I empathize with people who have concerns about that, but until we fundamentally secure the border and enforce the law _” Another reporter jumps in and asks whether changing birthright citizenship will be on the table once the border is secure. Walker responds, “We will talk about things in the future.”
Tuesday: Stanley Hubbard, a conservative billionaire who oversees a Minnesota broadcasting company and has donated to Walker’s campaign, confronts Walker on the issue during a lunch in Minnesota. Hubbard strongly opposes ending birthright citizenship, and he tells The Washington Post that he “might really quickly change my allegiance” if Walker pushs for such a repeal. Hubbard says he “did not get a real straight answer” from the candidate, but he comes away ready to write more checks to help Walker, adding, “I got the feeling that he is not at all anxious to talk about taking away those rights.”
Friday: In an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, Walker says he has no position on birthright citizenship: “I’m not taking a position on it one way or the other. I’m saying that until you secure the border and enforce the laws, any discussion of about anything else is really looking past the very things we have to do.”
Sunday: On ABC, Walker tells Stephanopoulos he does not support repealing or altering the 14th Amendment.
Sunday afternoon: In an email to AshLee Strong, a campaign spokeswoman, I ask whether Walker wants to end birthright citizenship, requesting a yes-or-no answer. She responds: “His position is very firm: We have to secure the border and enforce the laws first. He has been saying this all week long. You have heard him say that countless times. I know what you’re asking for, but just because you’re not satisfied with his answer doesn’t make his any less worthy.”
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