Scott Walker (R-WI)

After the 2012 elections, Republican officials nationwide agreed that the party would have to improve its standing among Latinos before the next presidential election. Unfortunately for the party’s future electoral hopes, recommendations laid out in the vaunted “autopsy” from the RNC were all but ignored as Republicans followed the lead of anti-immigrant Congressman Steve King in their attempt to kill immigration reform.

“Look to the governors” is a common refrain among Republican leaders who insist that GOP leaders in the states will magically solve the party’s problem with constituencies such as Latinos, young voters and women. Just today, however, it was reported that a campaign staffer for Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) had published shockingly offensive and racist tweets, including one threatening to “choke that illegal mex.” In damage control mode, Gov. Walker fired the staffer. The occurrence was remarkably similar to a situation this August, where another Walker employee was fired for comparing undocumented immigrants to Satan.
Walker was right to fire those employees, but he’s not out of the woods with Latino voters. Not by a long shot. When he faces voters, Walker will have to answer for dismantling tuition equality for the children of undocumented immigrants in Wisconsin.

Walker’s Reelection Campaign Fired Deputy Finance Director Taylor Palmisano For Tweeting Derogatory Comments About Hispanics.According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “For the second time in less than four months, Gov. Scott Walker has fired an aide for making demeaning comments about Hispanics on social media. Walker — who has been calling on fellow Republicans to do more to reach out to minority voters — ousted Taylor Palmisano as his campaign’s deputy finance director on Tuesday. The first-term governor made the move after No Quarter contacted his campaign regarding the inflammatory tweets.” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 12/3/13]

Palmisano Tweeted, “I Will Choke That Illegal Mex Cleaning In The Library.” According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “In one, Palmisano, 23, complained about an individual who was doing custodial work in a library in which she was working. ‘I will choke that illegal mex cleaning in the library. Stop banging (expletive) chairs around and turn off your Walkman,’ she posted on March 9, 2011.” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 12/3/13]

During A Bus Trip From California To Nevada, Palmisano Tweeted, “Nobody Speaks English & These Ppl Dont Know How 2 Control Their Kids #Only3morehours #Illegalaliens.” According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “Two months earlier, she went to Twitter to write about her bus trip from Pasadena, Calif., to Las Vegas after watching the Wisconsin Badgers play in the Rose Bowl: ‘This bus is my worst (expletive) nightmare Nobody speaks English & these ppl dont know how 2 control their kids #only3morehours #illegalaliens.’” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 12/3/13]

In August Of 2013, Walker Fired Assistant Deputy Secretary Of Transportation For Facebook Comments Comparing Illegal Immigrants To Satan. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “In a stunning online rant, a top Gov. Scott Walker official likened illegal immigrants to Satan during a Facebook debate over a bumper sticker declaring open season on foreigners living in the United States without documentation. ‘You may see Jesus when you look at them,’ Steven Krieser, assistant deputy secretary at the state Department of Transportation, wrote Tuesday regarding illegal immigrants. ‘I see Satan.’ […]Walker’s response was swift and dramatic. Less than two hours after his office was informed of the rant, Walker fired Krieser. He had been paid $96,628 a year as the No. 3 official at DOT.” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel,8/8/13]

Walker’s 2011 Budget Eliminated A Program That Grants In-State College Tuition To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants. According to the Associated Press, “The showdown over collective bargaining rights for public employees is just the first step in a contentious debate over how to solve Wisconsin’s budget woes, with newly elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker also seeking to dismantle an array of social policies enacted under his Democratic predecessor. On the chopping block in Walker’s two-year budget proposal are early release programs for prisoners, in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants, mandatory insurance coverage of contraceptives, college financial aid for high school grads who are good citizens and public financing for Supreme Court campaigns. […]Walker’s budget plan also would ax a Democratic initiative approved under Doyle that grants in-state college tuition rates to children of illegal immigrants, so long as the students have graduated from a Wisconsin high school and lived in the state for at least three years.” [Associated Press, 3/8/11]

The Final Budget Approved By The Legislature Included Walker’s Cut. According to the Associated Press, “Prospective politicians, college students, business owners, state workers and commuters all will face a new world when the new state budget takes effect Friday. […]If you’re a child of an illegal immigrant, going to college in Wisconsin is about to get much more expensive. The budget ends in-state tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants and forces them to pay out-of-state rates. Those changes will apply to anyone who enrolls for classes after Friday.” [Associated Press, 6/30/11]

Students In The Program Had To Graduate From A Wisconsin High School And Sign An Affidavit Promising To Seek Permanent Residency. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, “As of May, Wisconsin was one of 12 states that allowed illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, according to the National Immigration Law Center. To qualify for the program, a student had to prove he or she graduated from a Wisconsin high school and had lived here for three years, as well as sign an affidavit that he or she will seek permanent residency as soon as possible.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 6/21/11]

About 100 Undocumented Immigrants Took Advantage Of The Program Before Walker Cut It From The Budget.According to the Wisconsin State Journal, “About 100 illegal immigrants took advantage of a law allowing them to pay in-state tuition at University of Wisconsin System schools in the 2010-11 academic year under a short-lived program that will likely expire July 1, according to a State Journal analysis. Republican Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign a two-year budget that will ban offering resident tuition for illegal immigrants, ending a program that former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, signed into law two years ago.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 6/21/11]