Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said Monday that he believes the children of undocumented immigrants shouldn’t automatically have a right to American citizenship if they’re born in the United States.
Asked directly by msnbc if birthright citizenship should be ended, the Wisconsin governor replied: “Yeah, to me it’s about enforcing the laws in this country. And I’ve been very clear, I think you enforce the laws, and I think it’s important to send a message that we’re going to enforce the laws, no matter how people come here we’re going to enforce the laws.”
Ending birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants is part of GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s immigration plan, first outlined Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” On Monday morning, Walker told “Fox and Friends” that his own immigration plan is “similar” to the plan Trump outlined.
But not all the Republican presidential candidates are as on board with Trump’s vision for immigration policy. Lindsey Graham, who has sought to define himself as a hawk on foreign policy, told NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell on Monday that Trump represents “a giant step backward for the party.”
“This is forced deportation. This is not self deportation. This is apparently under this plan there is gonna be some government agency or a combination of agencies that are gonna route out these 11 -12-13 million people and drive ‘em back like the second exodus,” he said. “We are having a problem with Hispanics, and women. We are digging a big hole.”
On Monday evening, Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a statement slamming Walker for endorsing Trump’s proposal to end birthright citizenship. “It is disturbing that Republican presidential candidates continue to embrace extreme anti-immigrant positions as core pieces of their immigration platform,” the statement said. “While more Republicans are promoting policies that tear families apart, Hillary Clinton remains consistent in her position to defend President Obama’s executive actions and push for a comprehensive solution that includes a pathway to full and equal citizenship at the heart of any immigration reform plan.”
Here’s a transcript of Walker’s exchange with msnbc earlier on Monday:
KASIE HUNT: Do you think that birthright citizenship should be ended?
SCOTT WALKER: Well, like I said, Harry Reid said it’s not right for this country — I think that’s something we should, yeah, absolutely, going forward —
HUNT: We should end birthright citizenship?
WALKER: Yeah, to me it’s about enforcing the laws in this country. And I’ve been very clear, I think you enforce the laws, and I think it’s important to send a message that we’re going to enforce the laws, no matter how people come here we’re going to enforce the laws in this country.
HUNT: And you should deport the children of people who are illegal immigrants?
WALKER: I didn’t say that — I said you have to enforce the law, which to me is focusing on E-Verify.
A Walker spokeswoman followed up to clarify Walker’s position on immigration, saying his position is as follows:
“We have to enforce the laws, keep people from coming here, enforce E-Verify to stop the jobs magnet, and by addressing the root problems we will end the birthright citizenship problem.”