- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he’s not taking a position on whether people born in the United States should automatically be granted citizenship, saying the southern border must first be secured and laws enforced before dealing with other aspects of immigration policy.

“I’m not taking a position on it one way or the other,” Mr. Walker, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, told CNBC’s John Harwood Friday. “I’m saying that until you secure the border and enforce the laws, any discussion on anything else is really looking past the very things we have to do, and I think that’s why so many Americans have been frustrated with politicians who talk about all these other issues out there.”

“If you can’t secure the border, what kind of a sovereign nation do we live in if we can’t secure, fundamentally secure our borders?” Mr. Walker said. “Americans are fed up — they are sick and tired of Washington not being able to tackle these issues and they want someone who’s going to take care of it.”

Billionaire businessman and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call for repealing birthright citizenship in his recently-announced immigration platform has pushed the issue to the forefront of the Republican presidential race this week.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said they don’t favor repealing the 14th Amendment, which grants people born in the U.S. automatic citizenship, while former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania called for an end to birthright citizenship when he rolled out his own immigration plan Thursday.

Mr. Walker said he isn’t intimidated by Mr. Trump.

“I don’t talk about the guy — you guys talk about him; you guys might be intimidated, but I’m not,” he said.

Mr. Walker said a lot of the things Mr. Trump has talked about on immigration he had talked about months ago.

“I was talking about the bigger issue of immigration,” he said. “I talked about securing the border, enforcing the laws, going forward in a way that stood up and said we’re not going to be for amnesty and we’re going to build a system, a legal immigration system, that’s ultimately based on protecting American families and their wages in a way that’ll improve the American economy,” he said.

“When it comes to birthright or anything else, I said until you do those things, until you actually secure the border and start enforcing the laws, any politician who talks about anything else beyond that, the American people should be suspect,” he said. “Because we’ve talked for 25 years about those things. I’ve actually talked about doing [it].”

A Walker campaign spokeswoman said in a statement later Friday that “despite the best efforts to mischaracterize Governor Walker’s position, he has clearly and consistently stated that we need to enforce the laws on the books, keep people from coming here illegally, and enforce e-verify to stop the jobs magnet before we address the issue of birthright citizenship.”

“By addressing the root problems — in the right order — we will end this collateral issue that only exists because we have a border that is not secure and a broken system,” said Walker spokeswoman AshLee Strong.

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