Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and two other Republican presidential candidates faced questions about immigration policy at the Iowa State Fair. Walker was the first to speak Monday from The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox. When someone in the crowd asked him about immigration, Walker said the U.S. needs to build a “wall” along the Mexican border and end “sanctuary cities” where deportation orders are not followed.
“My great-great grandfather came as an immigrant from south central Wales. His father was a miner. He became a blacksmith and eventually moved his way to the Midwest, but like so many others they came in and followed the legal path,” Walker said. “I don’t believe in amnesty.”
Walker has said his approach to immigration is similar to that of Donald Trump, the new frontrunner in Iowa polls. Trump this weekend called for deporting all those who entered the country illegally and Trump would end “birthright citizenship.” During a news conference on the fairgrounds, Walker was asked three times whether the children of undocumented immigrants who were born in the U.S. should be deported.
“I’ve said in terms of what we should do is enforce the law,” Walker said. “If we enforce the law, we’re not going to have that problem going forward. A lot of people in the media here and elsewhere want to talk about several steps down the way, but until we secure the border and start enforcing the laws, we can’t talk about other things.”
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told the state fair crowd this debate is perilous for his party. “Hispanics – we’re driving them away folks because of the way we’re talking about fixing a hard problem like immigration,” Graham said.
Later, Graham told reporters Trump’s plan would “kill the Republican Party.”
Graham also dismissed Trump’s idea of getting the Mexican government to pay for construction of a wall, an opinion shared by GOP candidate Carly Fiorina, who called it “completely unrealistic.” Fiorina said the focus should be on fixing the legal immigration system and securing the border.