Chris Christie on Immigration


No pathway to citizenship, but college tuition for illegals

Christie said in May that he opposes a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. He did not publicly support or oppose the Senate's bipartisan comprehensive reform bill in 2013. Christie would not answer questions on the topic of immigration at an appearance last summer, nor in a 2013 appearance on ABC's This Week.

Christie signed the New Jersey Dream Act, also known as the Tuition Equality Act, in December 2013, allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates

Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Jun 30, 2015

2010: supported path to citizenship; 2013: backed away

In 2010, the New Jersey governor was a vocal supporter of a path to citizenship: "The president and the Congress have to step up to the plate, they have to secure our borders, and they have to put forward a commonsense path to citizenship for people," Christie told CNN at the time. "What I support is making sure that the federal government [plays] each and every one of its roles: securing the border, enforcing immigration laws, and having an orderly process--whatever that process is--for people to gain citizenship," Christie also said.

Since then, however, Christie has backed away from that stance--or at least refused to reaffirm his support for a path to citizenship. In a 2013 interview with ABC, he repeatedly dodged questions about it.

In 2013, Christie signed the New Jersey DREAM Act, which granted undocumented students in New Jersey access to in-state tuition rates as long as they attended high school in the United States for three years.

Source: National Journal 2016 series: Republicans on immigration , Feb 23, 2015

I favor fixing a broken system

Q: Do you still favor comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship?

CHRISTIE: What I favor is fixing a broken system, and the fact is that everybody knows the system is broken. And what Congress needs to do is get to work, working with each other and the president to fix a broken system that's not serving our economy well, not serving our country well.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 interview of Chris Christie , Nov 10, 2013

Path to citizenship in context of fixing broken system

Q: You're for a path to citizenship. You also said that undocumented students in N.J. should get in-state tuition rates. Do you think other states should adopt that policy as well?

CHRISTIE: Nationally, they have to fix a broken system. People across the country look at what governors do, like in N.J., where we confront problems, we debate them, then we get to a table, we come to an agreement, we fix them and we move on. And in Washington, that seems to almost never happen.

Q: Do you think that national solution should include a path to citizenship?

CHRISTIE: The national solution has to be figured out by the people who are in charge of our national government. My job is to fix what's going on in N.J. But we're not going to be able to fix all the things we need in N.J. until national leaders set a national immigration policy. That's federal policy that needs to be fixed. It's a broken system, it's not working for the economy, it's not working for the individuals who are affected by it.

Source: ABC This Week 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 10, 2013

I've never been opposed to tuition equality for illegals

Christie threaded the needle on the Dream Act, a law that would permit students who entered the country illegally to pay in-state tuition rates. Two years ago he said the state couldn't afford to extend tuition equality to "people who haven't followed the rules." A few days ago in front of a largely Hispanic crowd, he said it's time to reconsider the measure. "I've never been opposed to tuition equality," Christie said.
Source: Newark Star-Ledger on 2013 N.J. Governor debates , Oct 16, 2013

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Page last updated: Aug 16, 2015