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Walker Reverses Course On Immigration At Private Event, Reporter Says

Governor's Spokesperson Says Walker's Position 'Has Not Changed'

Peter Stevens (CC-BY)

As he positions himself for a possible presidential run in 2016, Gov. Scott Walker has faced criticism from potential GOP rivals for perceived shifts on multiple issues, immigration chief among them. Now, more scrutiny is likely headed the governor’s way.

According to reporting from The Wall Street Journal, Walker told New Hampshire Republicans at a private dinner that he supported the idea of a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States, a stark reversal from the more hardline stance he has taken publicly in recent months.

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From the Wall Street Journal article, written by Reid Epstein:

During the March 13 New Hampshire dinner, organized by New Hampshire Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn at the Copper Door Restaurant in Bedford, Mr. Walker said undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be deported, and he mocked 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s suggestion that they would “self-deport,” according to people who were there.

Instead, wrote Epstein, Walker said undocumented immigrants should be allowed to “eventually get their citizenship without being given preferential treatment” over people already in line to obtain citizenship.

Walker’s reported comments in New Hampshire resemble views he expressed throughout his years as Milwaukee County executive and his first term as governor. More recently, Walker has become more outspoken against immigration plans that include so-called “amnesty” for immigrants who entered the country illegally.

Walker has acknowledged his change in tone, telling reporters that conversations with border state governors and voters across the country caused him to rethink his earlier positions.

The Wall Street Journal included the following response from a Walker spokesperson:

Kirsten Kukowski, on Thursday didn’t address the comments governor made at the March 13 dinner supporting a path to citizenship. “Gov. Walker has repeatedly said that President Obama’s unconstitutional executive action and the collateral damage it has had on his fellow governors has made it evident that border security must be the top priority before we can have a conversation about anything else,” she said. “He is opposed to amnesty. There must be consequences for violating our laws.”

Reporters from the Wisconsin State Journal and Washington Examiner have reportedly heard from a Walker staffer directly disputing the Wall Street Journal report.

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