New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced he would veto a Senate-passed bill (S2479) that would offer taxpayer-subsidized in-state tuition and financial assistance to illegal aliens. He objects to the financial aid aspect of the bill, the fact that it would help illegal aliens in private schools, and its lack of a sunset date. Christie says he continues to support so-called tuition equity for illegal aliens, however.
Some consider Christie’s position on in-state tuition a flip-flop. Speaking in 2011, Christie said, “I do not believe that for those people who came here illegally that we should be subsidizing with taxpayer money through in-state tuition their education. Let me be very clear from my perspective — that is not a heartless position, that is a commonsense position.”
But in a keynote address at the 2013 Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey annual gala last month, Christie said, “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.” Political analysts suggested Christie switched his stance to woo Hispanic voters and drive up his margin of victory in the gubernatorial race. That would bolster a potential run for the presidency.
Just after the election, Senate Democratic leaders rushed through a tuition aid bill to challenge Christie’s newfound interest in in-state tuition for illegal aliens. That placed Christie in a predicament if he in fact intends to run for president. History has demonstrated that Republican primary voters strongly oppose financial assistance for illegal aliens. In 2012, for example, the presidential bid of Texas Gov. Rick Perry took a nosedive after he defended signing the country’s first in-state tuition bill more than a decade earlier.
Yesterday, Christie sought to clarify his position. “I’m for tuition equality. I’m not for adding tuition aid grants,” the governor said. “I thought the Legislature should move in the lame-duck session toward tuition equality in New Jersey — period. That’s what I said. I didn’t support any particular piece of legislation…If they send me a clean tuition equity bill, I will sign it. If they don’t, I won’t sign it.”
The N.J. Assembly is expected to consider the matter soon. The Assembly’s version (A4225) of the bill does not include financial aid but the measure’s primary sponsor, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, said he will try to move S2479 instead. That bill currently resides in the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee. Johnson told The Washington Times he will try to find funds to cover financial aid for illegal aliens so that other students seeking assistance are not disenfranchised.
Read more in The Washington Times.
Updated: Wed, Dec 4th 2013 @ 2:50pm EST