Christie Shifts His Stance on Immigration

In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly earlier this week, Gov. Chris Christie backed away from his previous support for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, calling the position “extreme.”  Christie also said he would repeal President Obama’s executive actions on immigration if given the opportunity:

Megyn Kelly: On the subject of immigration, are you for a pathway to citizenship?

Gov. Chris Christie: No, I think that is an extreme way to go, and I think that, quite frankly, what Hillary Clinton is doing right now is pandering.  That’s pandering.  We need to have an intelligent conversation about this and bring the American people along to where we can find consensus.  That’s been the failure of this president.  You don’t build consensus by executive order.  And it’s been the failure of those who are trying to pander to make political points out of this.  So, no, I don’t believe that’s the way to go, and I don’t believe that’s where the American people are.

Kelly: So you’re saying now that you’re not for a path to citizenship, but back in 2010 on “This Week” you said that you were.  What changed?

Christie: Well, I think I’ve learned over time about this issue and done a lot more work on it.  And I think everyone has to do what you need to do to be able to get educated on these issues and learn.  And back in 2010, I was in my first couple months as a governor.  I’ve now learned some of the ramifications for all these things.  And what I’m saying now is that we’ve got to come up with a solution for it, but I think that just immediately going to a path to citizenship as Hillary Clinton is proposing to do is just pandering.  It’s politics.  It’s not based upon an educated study of the issue.

[…]

Kelly: Would you reverse President Obama’s executive action on illegal immigration?

Christie: Yes.

Kelly: Right away?

Christie: Yes, because I believe it’s illegal.

Christie’s positions put him well within the consensus among current Republican candidates on immigration, though it is still unclear where the governor stands in regards to border security or addressing the plight of millions of undocumented immigrants currently in the country.  If Christie does decide to run, he will certainly need to go into more detail on policy than he has up to now.

Paul Dupont is a legislative assistant for American Principles in Action.