Monday, April 27, 2015

Vigorous Debate

The Hidden Divide At The Heart Of The GOP's Immigration Fight

By James Ante III, Apr. 27, 2015

With a few words to Glenn Beck last week, Scott Walker busted open the conservative debate on immigration.

The Wisconsin governor and possible presidential candidate called for a "legal immigration system that's based, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages." His remarks were widely circulated by Breitbart's doggedly anti-amnesty reporter Matthew Boyle. Then the internet exploded, with some of thestrongest negative reactions coming from my fellow conservatives.

Note that Walker, whose position on whether he would offer legal status to illegal immigrants is famously murky, stops short of actually calling for a lower level of legal immigration. But he does invoke Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the most prominent Republican who is calling for curbing immigration.

The political ramifications of Walker's comments are unclear. He appeared to cut against things he's said about immigration in the past, and certainly contradicted the preferences of major Republican donors, including the otherwise Walker-friendly Koch brothers. But Walker's concern about immigration and wages comes as polls for the first time show him losing his grip on conservatives to candidates who are theoretically vulnerable on immigration.

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