In a change from his recent liberal leanings on immigration, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he does not support giving undocumented immigrants a path to legal status.
In an interview Monday with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Christie said that while he feels that the U.S. immigration system is in need of an overhaul, he does not agree with giving undocumented immigrants a break and allowing them to live in the United States permanently.
He criticized Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who recently said she supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as well as President Barack Obama’s executive action that called for sparing up to 5 million people here illegally from deportation for about three years.
Clinton said that she would go even further than Obama and extend the deportation reprieve to more categories of undocumented immigrants.
“I think that’s an extreme way to go,” Christie said to Kelly, adding that Clinton was “pandering” for votes. “I don’t believe that’s where the American people are.”
Kelly reminded Christie that about five years ago, he expressed support for giving some undocumented immigrants an opportunity to legalize.
Christie said: “I’ve learned over time about this issue and done a lot more work on it. Just immediately going to a path to citizenship, as Hillary Clinton is proposing to do, is just pandering politics.”
He vowed to revoke Obama’s executive order if he becomes president.
Christie defended signing into law in 2014 a measure, the New Jersey Dream Act, that allowed undocumented students in his state to attend public colleges at in-state tuition rates instead of at an out-of-state cost, which is twice as much.
Christie said it was an economic decision that made sense because these students attend K-12 schools, as mandated by the Supreme Court, and should be able to continue their education.
As for his rivals, if he runs for president, Christie said that a governor would be a better Oval Office occupant than, say, a U.S. senator.
He said he likes Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who is running for president, but concluded that he’s not ready for prime-time White House politics. He said the nation has already elected a one-term U.S. senator – Obama – and that ““I don’t think it works well.”
Rubio has said that senators are better prepared than governors because their job requires them to deal with foreign policy.
Christie balked, saying that “Foreign policy is something you can learn, just like anything else. You can’t learn how to make decisions other than by making them.”
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