JOHNSTON, IOWA – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wasn’t in Congress when the Gang of Eight bill was passed by a bi-partisan Senate coalition, but he wasn’t a fan of the legislation.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Christie detailed his thoughts on the 2013 Senate effort to pass a bi-partisan bill as he was opening an office here in Iowa.The Governor discussed how he would secure the border if elected president.
Christie said that the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill was “fatally flawed” from the beginning, pointing out that President Obama was never going to take border enforcement seriously.
“I didn’t support what they were doing at the time … I just don’t trust this president to secure the border and to do what needs to be done in that regard,” he said.
He admitted that he appreciated that both parties were working together on the issue, but suggested that Republicans made a mistake by trusting the Obama administration.
You have to decide what you’re willing to give in on and what you’re not, and you also have to know as a member of congress that anything you put down in that law has to be enforced by the executive branch, not by the congressional branch. So do you believe that Barack Obama’s administration will actually do that? I don’t.
He criticized Obama for failing to unite the country after the childhood arrival border crisis, choosing instead to ignore Congress by signing executive orders.
If elected president, Christie said, he would walk back Obama’s executive orders on immigration “early on” in his administration, but he said his first day would be spent on ending sanctuary cities through an executive order.
The rest of time in office, he explained, would be focused on proving to the American people that he would secure the border.
Since the debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday, Christie has spent the week in Iowa, traveling around the state doing town halls and small meet-and-greets. As in New Hampshire, Christie is well aware that immigration is on voters minds in the Republican primary and has reminded voters of his record as a law enforcer.
During a small town hall event at J’s Homestyle Cooking in Cedar Falls, a town about two hours from Des Moines, the first question from voters was about stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.
Christie made it clear that he would secure the borders, but he dismissed the massive wall on the entire southern border proposed by Donald Trump.
“Now please everybody,” he said. “Do not go for this ‘I’m going to build a wall on the entire 2,000 miles of the Southern border,’” he said, hinting at the plan proposed by Trump. “Please don’t go for that. It’s not going to happen.”
He dismissed the notion that the president of Mexico would agree to pay for the wall, reminding voters that he had traveled to Mexico to meet President Enrique Peña Nieto.
“He’s a very nice guy – but he ain’t paying for the wall, I don’t care who asks him, I don’t care how beautiful the wall is, I don’t care how beautiful the door to the wall is, he’s not paying for it, you’re paying for it, and we don’t need it.” he said.
Christie said that walls and fences made sense in the most populated areas, but not the entire border, and proposed using camera sensors and drone equipment to patrol the area.
A mandatory national E-Verify system for employers, Christie explained, would help stop the flow of illegal immigrants making it more difficult for them to find work.
“If they know that they can’t get a job, then they aren’t coming,” he said, referring to illegal immigrants.
More importantly, he explained, was the millions of illegal immigrants who overstayed their visas who were coming into the United States via an airport and not the southern border.
A modernization of the system, he argued, would dramatically reduce American cynicism surrounding border enforcement.
“It’s fine to invite people here on a visa, but they need to stay the amount of time that they’re allowed to stay and they need to go home – that’s 40 percent of the 11 million problem,” he said.
Christie argued that his multi-layered approach to border security would not only work faster to stop the flow of illegal immigration but actually helps stop the problem in an affordable way.
“Do not believe for a moment that building a 2,000 mile wall is going to solve the problem, because I tell you this about people: I’ve never met a wall that a determined human being could not get under, over, or around,” he said.