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Scott Walker In 2006: "I Support Paul Ryan's Position On Immigration Reform"

As the Wisconsin governor takes a conservative hardline on immigration, his past statements come under scrutiny.

Posted on May 4, 2015, at 11:27 a.m. ET


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely 2016 candidate for president who has positioned himself as an opponent of so-called "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants, wrote in 2006 blog posts uncovered by BuzzFeed News that he supported fellow Wisconsinite's Paul Ryan's position on immigration policy.

In the past, Republican Rep. Ryan has been a supporter of a comprehensive approach to changing immigration law and has supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

A review by BuzzFeed News of Walker's old campaign website has found blog posts written by Walker saying his stance on immigration mirrored Ryan's.

"As for the issue of immigration, I commented on it in my post on Monday. In particular, I support Paul Ryan's position on immigration reform," Walker wrote in a blog post responding to a question on immigration.

Walker wrote in a previous post that he was most impressed by a speech Ryan gave at a Republican event where he spoke of the assimilation of immigrants into American culture.

"Ryan mentioned that his family learned the language and the culture," Walker wrote. "Sure, they still cook corned beef and cabbage and honor other Irish traditions, but they learned about American culture. I agree, being a melting pot means respecting ethnic backgrounds, but melting together in the principles that make America great."

Ryan co-sponsored in the House the companion bill to the McCain-Kennedy Senate bill, which included a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He was one of the few members to do so.

Ryan wrote on his website at the time that the guest-worker provision in the Senate bill could provide a "earned pathway to citizenship" for immigrants who met certain requirements.

Not all of immigration legislation Ryan supported during this time included the "pathway to citizenship." Ryan also supported the House's "Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005" from immigration-hardliner Jim Sensenbrenner which would have made it easier to deport undocumented immigrants.

As Milwaukee county executive Walker signed a 2006 resolution in support of the McCain-Kennedy Senate bill, which included a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The Huffington Post found last week that Walker had also signed off on a campaign to lobby Congress to support the bill.

A Walker aide told BuzzFeed News that Walker has said "amnesty is not the answer" and that he has cited President Obama's executive actions on immigration as a driving force behind his current position.

"Governor Walker has clearly and repeatedly stated that President Obama's unconstitutional executive action and the collateral damage it has had on his fellow governors has made it evident that our priorities must be repealing the executive action, securing the border, and enforcing the laws on the books while implementing a workable e-verify system. Then we can address fixing our legal immigration system and deal with those here illegally. Amnesty is not the answer."

Walker earlier this year said flat out that he had changed his mind on immigration policy when he was pressed by Fox News' Chris Wallace about past 2013 comments in support of comprehensive immigration legislation and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

"My view has changed, I'm flat out saying it. Candidates can say that, sometimes they don't," Walker said. "I look at the problems we've experienced over the last few years. I talked to governors on the border and others out there, I've talked to people all across America, and the concerns I have is that we need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works, a legal immigration system that works."

A Walker aide also pointed to Ryan's current position on undocumented immigrants. Ryan says "no amnesty should be provided," but also supports citizenship as an option for those currently here, saying, "we shouldn't prevent them from ever earning citizenship."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.