New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spelled out his objections to an immigrant tuition bill making its way through the state Legislature for the first time Monday, when he reiterated his refusal to sign the proposal in its current form.
At his first Statehouse news conference since winning re-election with 50 percent of the Hispanic vote, Christie said he wants to limit the bill to illegal immigrant students who went to New Jersey’s schools, as opposed to a provision that allows all students in the United States illegally to have access to tuition aid grants.
Christie also wants to limit eligibility to students who were in the U.S. as of last year, as President Barack Obama has done in an executive order on in-state tuition.
“Those are the major concerns I have,” Christie said. “Each one of these things makes us an outlier, even with states that permit in-state tuition for undocumented students. And, it will make us a magnet for folks to come here to get these additional benefits.”
“If they sent me a clean tuition equality bill, I would sign it,” he added.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat who has worked with Christie in the past, said the governor would get the bill “as is.” He said Christie did not express concerns about the bill until after it passed out of the Senate Budget Committee in June.
“He supported it when he was running for governor. Unfortunately now that he’s running for president, he doesn’t support it,” Sweeney said.