Just before his reelection last month, New Jersey Governor and likely 2016 contender Chris Christie appeared to embrace tuition equality for his state’s undocumented students, saying:
I believe every child should be given the opportunity to reach their God-given potential…that’s a moral requirement. 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…
Now that the election is over, however, and he has potential primary voters to worry about, Christie seems to be walking that position back, saying that a tuition bill the state senate has just passed is a legislative overreach and “unsignable.”
Is Christie REALLY already going back on his word with one of the communities most credited with helping to reelect him? A very tough editorial at the Washington Post challenges Christie’s political machinations:
LET IT be recorded for posterity: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s support for granting “tuition equality” to the state’s undocumented immigrants spanned precisely 44 days. His support for the idea was born Oct. 12 and lasted through his Nov. 5 reelection victory, when he managed to win just more than half the Hispanic vote. It died abruptly on Nov. 25, as Mr. Christie pivoted from New Jersey’s general election to his preparations for the 2016 Republican primaries. On to Iowa!
The governor’s 44 days of enlightenment encapsulates perfectly his party’s dilemma on the issue of illegal immigration. At least in the view of Republican candidates, any effort to court Hispanics, a vital and growing segment of the electorate, risks infuriating GOP primary voters.
And, that editorial also challenged Christie’s newfound hesitations about the legislation:
Mr. Christie could have made those objections known in October. At the time, he expressed no reservations in backing tuition equality. Now it turns out that “equality,” to Mr. Christie, doesn’t really mean that undocumented immigrants be treated equally.
Mr. Christie said , “I don’t think this is any different position than I’ve had all along.” In fact, he has discovered reasons to oppose an idea that he embraced just weeks ago. We hope he’s artful enough to flip back one more time. It might help his credibility. It certainly would be the right thing for young people in New Jersey who want to contribute to what is, for most of them, the only country they have ever known.
Support for tuition equality and other policies important to immigrants and Latino voters might even make Christie’s 2016 bid, should he decide to run, a bit easier. Let’s not forget what happened to the last Republican who ran for national office while pissing off Latino voters…