While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been vague about immigration-related topics, he has insisted he opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants.
That may not always have been the case, according to a story published Friday on National Review Online.
NRO reported that after he was elected Milwaukee County executive in 2002, Walker signed a resolution passed by the county government calling for the implementation of an amnesty similar to the measure signed into law by President Reagan in 1986.
The resolution called for "a new program similar to the Federal amnesty program enacted by Congress in 1986 to allow undocumented working immigrants to obtain legal residency in the United States."
More recently, as he weighs seeking the Republican presidential nomination next year, Walker has walked a political tightrope, stating that he is against amnesty "but hinting that he supports some version of a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally, provided that they pay penalties, complete a waiting period, and satisfy additional requirements," according to NRO.
An official record of the proceedings explained reasons for the board of supervisors' support, including the fact that Milwaukee had hosted the 2001 convention of the National Council of La Raza
, an advocacy group that has long backed open borders.
The resolution concluded that the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors "does hereby express its support for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that will provide greater opportunity for undocumented working immigrants to obtain legal residency in the United States and joins the AFL-CIO, the U.S. Catholic Conference, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and other leading business, religious, and civic leaders and organizations as well as the city of Milwaukee in urging the U.S. Congress to adopt such legislation."
It passed overwhelmingly on May 23, 2002, and Walker approved it on June 19, 2002 in his capacity as county executive.
While Walker's popularity has surged since he delivered a major speech in Iowa last month, it may not last "if primary voters suspect that the man they perceive as a battle-tested conservative warrior, thanks to his victory over Wisconsin's public sector unions, is soft on immigration," NRO concluded.
According to the most recent Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm College survey
of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads the Republican field with 16 percent support; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul gets 13 percent, followed by 12 percent for Walker. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got 10 percent of the vote of those polled, while 14 percent said they were unsure.
But the survey also shows how explosive the immigration issue may become for a potential White House candidate: 41 percent of likely GOP primary voters termed Bush's support for "allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in this country" a "deal-killer."
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