Christie Defers to 'National Leaders' to Devise 'National Solution' on Immigration

November 12, 2013 - 10:55 AM

Chris Christie's historic re-election victory isn't without criticism.  He's been tagged as a moderate in the Republican Party. An aspect that isn't too popular with the conservative grassroots base.  Nevertheless, he took to the Sunday morning talk shows to push back against those claims.

Yet, when pressed by George Stephanopoulos on the issue of immigration, Gov. Christie decided to prevaricate, evade, and pivot away from giving a position on the issue, specifically on in-state tuition for illegal aliens and a pathway to citizenship.

He was mum on citizenship, but given that he was against the Dream Act before he was for it doesn't bode well for shaking off those moderate allegations.  He seemingly flipped on the issue during his 2013 re-election campaign where his Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono, had hit him for his opposition.

As Stephan Dinan of the Washington Times wrote on October 13:

"Mr. Christie previously had opposed the federal Dream Act, which would have legalized illegal immigrant students and made them eligible nationwide for in-state tuition. New Jersey press accounts said Mr. Christie said that would have amounted to 'subsidizing' them with taxpayers' money."

"Mr. Christie's Democratic opponent in the governor's race, Barbara Buono, has been a supporter of the legislation, known as the New Jersey Dream Act, and has attacked the governor for his opposition."

"The New Jersey version of the legislation would grant in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities to illegal immigrants who attended at least three years of high school in the state, who received a diploma from a New Jersey school, and who vow to seek legalization once that chance opens up."

On his reversal, the governor noted, "We need tuition equality for everyone in New Jersey;" words he didn't use during his interview on This Week yesterday.

When pressed to clarify his stand on the issue, Christie deferred to the judgement of "national leaders," saying the onus is on them to devise a "national solution":

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: One issue that's sure to come up is immigration; you mentioned you got a majority of the Latino vote in your re-election. And you're for a path to citizenship.

You also said that undocumented students in New Jersey should get in-state tuition rates, do you think other states should adopt that policy as well?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: I think nationally, they have to fix a broken system. This is one of the real frustrations that people across the country have on this and a myriad of other issues, is they look at what governors do, like in New Jersey, where we confront problems, we debate them, we argue about them. Then, we get to the table, we come to an agreement, we fix them, and we move on.

In Washington, that seems to almost never happen. And so, I think, listen, everybody has to sit at the table, everyone's going to have a point of view on immigration - and a myriad of other issues. Well, let's have our argument out publicly, then let's get to the table, come to a consensus and then move on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, do you think that national solution should include both a path to citizenship and that relief on in-state college tuition?

GOV. CHRISTIE: I think that 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 New Jersey. But I will tell you this, George; we're not going to be able to fix all the things we need in New Jersey until the national leaders set a national immigration policy. That's federal law -- 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 affected by it, it's not working for the governments. So, we need to get them in the room, the president needs to lead and members of Congress need to do it, too, and if they do that, then, I think it will help our economy and our country if we get some resolution.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Including a path to citizenship?

GOV. CHRISTIE: George, I don't get to make those determinations.  The folks in Washington, D.C --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet, you can have an opinion.

GOV. CHRISTIE: Well, listen I can have an opinion about lots of things, George, but we're not going through that this morning are we?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wish we had time!

GOV. CHRISTIE: It's 2013; I just got elected the Governor of New Jersey again. So, the fact is I have already said what I believe, which is it's a broken system and it needs to be fixed. Now, let's get to work doing it.