Over the weekend, leading Republican candidate Donald Trump went into further detail about his immigrant “plans” — an ugly, nativist wish-list proposing to round up and deport a population the size of Ohio — and at least one other GOP candidate is already eagerly onboard.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said on Monday that his immigration proposals were “very similar” to those of the real estate magnate, who over the weekend released a tough new plan exclusively focused on enforcement and cracking down on unauthorized immigrants. Walker said that he, too, wanted to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which is one of Trump’s most controversial proposals.
Later that morning, Walker also told reporter Kasie Hunt that “that he supported ending birthright citizenship — another tenet of Trump’s recently unveiled immigration plan.”
And, upon some more digging into Walker’s thoughts on Trump’s immigration proposals, it seems Walker’s not only on the same page as Trump, but he wants to take credit for the plans, too:
“It’s similar to what I brought up about four or five months ago,” Walker said Monday on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” when host Steve Doocy asked whether he supported Trump’s plan. “Earlier in the year, I was on Fox News Sunday and laid out what I think we should do, which is to secure the border, build the wall, have the technology, have the personnel to make sure it’s safe and secure, enforce the law… and make sure people are here legally. I don’t believe in amnesty.”
“I haven’t looked at all the details of his, but the things I’ve heard are very similar to the things I mentioned to Chris Wallace on the show earlier this year,” Walker said of Trump’s plan, noting that he may support a legal immigration system that prioritizes American working families.
Walker is perhaps one of the best examples of the “Trump Effect” — once-moderate Republican candidates kowtowing to the anti-immigrant right, therefore cementing the party’s xenophobic brand.
In 2013, Walker appeared to support a path to citizenship, saying, “It’s all is about the 11 million [undocumented immigrants],” Walker said. “You hear some people talk about border security and a wall and all that. To me, I don’t know that you need any of that if you had a better, saner way to let people into the country in the first place.”
But by 2015, Walker had disowned citizenship and de-evolved on immigration, rapidly moving from pro-reform pragmatist to anti-immigrant crusader, railing against even legal immigration and aligning himself with the likes of Jeff Sessions.
And now, Walker appears to be asking to be credited for the Sessions-sculpted Trump immigration plan, too.
The question remains where other Republican Presidential candidates — particularly Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio — stand on Trump’s plan. Do they, like Walker, give it their stamp of approval? Or do they counter it and stand with the majority of Americans who want the 11 million undocumented immigrants to stay?