A New Jersey newspaper is accusing Gov. Chris Christie (R) of putting his 2016 presidential ambitions above Hispanic voters.
The Star-Ledger on Sunday accused Christie of flip-flopping on his support for a bill that would grant in-state tuition to students who came to the country illegally.
“The real reason for his flip-flop? Christie has his eyes on the presidency. And if he has to roll over Latinos to get there, he’ll do it,” the Newark-based newspaper's editorial board wrote on Sunday.
Christie opposes a provision that would allow boarding school students in New Jersey who came to the country illegally to qualify for in-state tuition as well.
The Star-Ledger said that provision would make up a tiny amount of the population and was written in to avoid violating federal law.
“Think about this: He’s saying we should scrap this bill because someone might come to our pricey boarding schools from out of state, then decide to go to a public college and get in-state tuition. How many students could this possibly apply to?” the editorial board asked.
Christie said he would sign the bill if changes are made.
The newspaper reluctantly endorsed Christie during the governor’s race earlier this year, saying his opponent, Barbara Buono, was a weak and deeply flawed candidate.
But it gave its endorsement with a warning about Christie hewing to the right to win over primary voters in a potential 2016 bid for president.
“Christie has said little about his plans for a second term. Our fear is that he could veer rightward to impress Republican base voters in the 2016 primaries,” the editorial board wrote in October.
During the Republican presidential primary last election, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was slammed for signing of a similar bill in 2001. Mitt Romney, the eventual GOP nominee, touted his veto of a similar bill in Massachusetts.
Christie, a presidential prospect in 2016, won his second term in the governor's mansion with the help of a majority of the Hispanic vote. Romney won only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote during his loss in 2012.
An increasing number of Republicans, including other presidential prospects, have expressed a willingness to reform the immigration system, but a comprehensive bill has stalled in the House.