Scott Walker was tired from “hours” of interviews when he said that fellow contender Donald Trump’s plan to end birthright citizenship was “very similar” to the immigration position that Walker supported as Wisconsin governor, according to an interview on Friday with CNBC correspondent John Harwood. Now, Walker says he doesn’t have a stance on the topic.
“I’m not taking a position on it one way or the other,” Walker told Harwood, when questioned about ending birthright citizenship, a centerpiece demand that Trump laid out in his immigration policy plan to end automatic citizenship for any child born in the United States to undocumented immigrants.
“When it comes to birthright and those things, until you secure the border and enforce the laws, any discussion about anything else is looking past the things we have to do,” Walker said.
Trump recently unveiled a detailed immigration policy outline aimed at deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and ending birthright citizenship for the children of immigrants born in the United States. Since then, other GOP presidential candidates have been quick to follow suit.
On Monday, Walker spoke with Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy and said Trump’s harsh immigration position was “very similar” to the immigration position he supported as Wisconsin governor. He also told a NBC News reporter that the U.S. should “absolutely” end birthright citizenship.
But Walker sidestepped when asked where he stood now. “In both of these instances, what I’ve said and I pointed it out, I did a three-and-a-half hour gaggle, so there was bits and pieces of people interrupting, while we were taking questions along the way,” the GOP presidential candidate said.
In general, when it comes to a policy position on immigration, Walker just hasn’t figured out where he lands. As county executive in Milwaukee County between 2002 and 2006, he twice signed resolutions backing programs that would have granted legal status to undocumented immigrants. He told the Wausau Daily Herald editorial board in 2013 that “it makes sense” for some immigrants to get on a pathway to citizenship “with the right penalties and waiting periods and meet the requirements.” Some donors say that he privately told them that he supported a pathway to citizenship, though his spokesperson has consistently denied that.
Walker’s lately stayed the course on his newer anti-immigrant position. When confronted with people with the most to lose, Walker recently told a pair of siblings with an undocumented father that he “completely sympathize with the situation you’re all in and others are in,” but that “in American nobody’s above the law” when the younger sibling asked, “Do you want me to like come home and come from school and my dad get deported?”