Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker told a local newspaper Tuesday he not only supports the Senate immigration bill but that it should go further, calling the legislation merely a “band-aid.” (UPDATE: Walker’s office has refuted the report, claiming he has “not endorsed any specific policy.”)
“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. I want them here,” he told the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune editorial board.
Walker added that there needed to be “a larger way” to reform the system to make immigrating easier. “Because if it wasn’t so cumbersome, if there wasn’t such a long wait, if it wasn’t so difficult to get in, we wouldn’t have the other problems that we have.”
The governor has moved leftward in recent years on the issue. He endorsed an Arizona-style bill allowing police to request proof of citizenship during the 2010 gubernatorial race but abandoned the position two years later, saying that would be a “huge distraction” from the rest of of his agenda.
Walker became a conservative hero for his success in rolling back public employee union rights in the Badger State in 2011. His efforts prompted furious protests at the time and a union-led recall election last year. Walker won the recall by an even wider margin than his 2010 election. He is now viewed as a darkhorse candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.