Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said Sunday he doesn’t support a change to the country’s birthright citizenship laws, appearing to take a third stance on the issue in seven days.
The Wisconsin governor told ABC’s “This Week” that U.S. officials need to “enforce the laws, including those that are in the Constitution.”
Walker made the statement after fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump raised the issue in an Aug. 16 white paper focusing on whether the 14th amendment provides for such rights.
Trump suggested some pregnant women are coming to the United States simply to give birth to secure their family’s stay in the country, which he claims is a misuse of the law. He also said his lawyers think the amendment might not withstand a legal challenge.
"Well, I said the law is there,” Walker said Sunday, arguing he prefers to address the problem of illegal immigration by bolstering border security and requiring employers to use the federal E-Verify system to check the immigration status of prospective hires.
At the Iowa State Fair on Monday, Walker told MSNBC that birthright citizenship should be ended.
"Yeah, absolutely, going forward," he said, arguing like Trump that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has also supported such a plan. "To me it's about enforcing the laws in this country.”
Walker was less clear on Tuesday, however. When asked by Fox News about his position on the issue, he said: “I believe (in) securing the border, enforcing the laws. … I do not believe in amnesty going forward. I believe in a legal immigration system that gives priority to American working families and their wages in a way that will improve the American economy.”
Walker also said Sunday that any discussion on immigration that goes beyond focusing on border security and enforcing the laws “should be a red flag to voters.”
The issue has caused some division within the GOP field.
Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon and another of the 17 major GOP candidates, said Tuesday that the U.S. allowing so-called “anchor babies” to stay just “doesn’t make any sense at all.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham agreed, saying the birthright citizenship issue must be addressed but disagreeing with Trump’s call for “forced deportation.”
The issue has also been complicated for another GOP candidate.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a former Supreme Court lawyer, suggested in 2011 that conservatives would be making a “mistake” in trying to fight against the amendment. Last week, however, Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American-born mother and Cuban immigrant father, said he supports changes to birthright citizenship.