Chris Christie has come around on the DREAM Act.
The New Jersey Governor said Saturday that he would support legislation in his state to offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, reversing a position that had drawn criticism from Latino groups in the state.
Christie’s new position comes as he tries to cultivate Latino groups in his state in an effort to win re-election.
“I think any child that we save from the misery of a failed education and a miserable future because of it is an obligation that we have and a great gift that we’ve given to that child,” Christie said during the keynote speech at the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey’s gala. “I simply can’t sit by and allow us to see children fail in school in the 20th century and leave them without hope that their lives will be great.”
Christie’s challenger, Democrat Barbara Buono, pressed the governor last month to push the stalled in-state tuition bill through the state legislature. Christie said back in 2011 that he would veto the measure.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger editorial board slammed Christie last month for opposing the DREAM Act, comparing him unfavorably to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who signed a similar bill into law in 2001. Perry’s support of the Texas DREAM Act hurt his image among the hardline conservatives that heavily influenced the hard-fought GOP presidential primary of 2011-2012.
“Christie doesn’t want to stick his neck out on anything that could hurt his prospects in the 2016 Republican presidential primary,” the Star-Ledger wrote in an editorial published Sept. 19. “His party has blocked a federal DREAM Act in Congress, and New Jersey’s version sits stalled in the Legislature.”