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Scott Walker backs path to citizenship, increased immigration

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Tuesday that he supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants but that federal immigration reform efforts miss a key element of the debate.

In an interview with the Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald editorial board, Walker said the debate should focus on making it easier to immigrate rather than on what to do with immigrants already here illegally and border security.

"It's all is about the 11 million [undocumented immigrants]," Walker said. "You hear some people talk about border security and a wall and all that. To me, I don't know that you need any of that if you had a better, saner way to let people into the country in the first place."

Walker added: "If people want to come here and work hard in this country, I don't care if you come from Mexico or Canada or Ireland or Germany or South Africa or anywhere else. I want them here."

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said the governor hasn't endorsed a particular policy, but feels that immigration needs to be addressed.

"Governor Walker recognizes that we have a broken immigration system, and while he hasn't endorsed a specific policy, the Governor believes this is an issue that must be addressed," said Evenson.

Walker is considered a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate. He has in the past suggested he could support the kind of tough immigration laws instituted in Arizona, but seemed to back away from that position in December when he said such legislation would be a "huge distraction."

Walker said in February that he could support a path to citizenship, but said legal immigrants should get priority over illegal immigrants.

Updated at 2:19 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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