Is Chris Christie Backtracking on His New Jersey DREAM Act Campaign Promise?

Dec 2, 2013
9:38 AM

Remember early in November when New Jersey governor Chris Christie was being praised for being a Republican that was able to garner the Latino vote in an election?


(Credit: Nightscream)

The Daily Beast, for example, reminded readers that right before Christie’s re-election sweep, he had changed his position on New Jersey’s version of a DREAM Act, making the point that even though Christie didn’t support the bill in 2011, he was for it, just one month before New Jersey went to the polls in the race against him and opponent Barbara Buono:

Last month, however, Christie came out in favor of the measure, saying that the state’s fiscal position had improved enough to make granting in-state tuition for the undocumented viable.

“What I always have said is that when economic times got better, that that would be one of the things that I would consider,” Christie said during a debate with Buono at Montclair State University. “It’s time now — given that economic times are getting better and the state budget revenues are going up.”

Now, just a few weeks after, Christie changed his tune. As one outlet reported, Christie is still all for in-state tuition for DREAMers, but the current bill being considered in the Senate is a no go:

“They’re overreaching and making it unsignable and making the benefits richer than the federal program, the federal Dream Act, that’s simply not acceptable for me.”

Christie’s problem? That the current bill could create too many loopholes, especially the one that “could allow out-of-state residents – regardless of their immigration status – to qualify for in-state tuition if they attend private high school in New Jersey.”

He also added this:

“I want tuition equality for folks, but I don’t want a program that’s richer than the federal program and richer than other states which could make us become a magnet state for people.”

As you can imagine, immigrant rights groups in New Jersey are pushing back. One immigration advocate from Dover said this, “That is not what he said to the Dover Latino community when he was campaigning in our town just a month ago.”

So what’s the scoop, governor? By the way, New Jersey’s state assembly seems to be going full speed ahead on things.

UPDATE: CNN reports new comments made today by Christie:

“I said the legislature should move toward tuition equality,” he said Monday in a press conference. “I didn’t support any particular piece of legislation. And I still support tuition equality.”

Immigration activists argue Christie pledged his support for the legislation during an October gala, less than a month before he won re-election.

“I believe every child should be able to give the opportunity to reach their God-given potential,” he said at the event. “We need to make sure that we continue to work on issues that will make those children believe they have a bigger and brighter future. We need to get to work in the state legislature on things like making sure that there’s tuition equality for everybody in New Jersey.”