New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Saturday said his four-point solution to immigration reform would secure the border and let the government focus on growing the economy.
Speaking at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, the presidential hopeful said he would build a fence along highly populated urban areas, bulk up the border area with more federal agents, use drone surveillance along the border and enforce E-Verify policies for employment.
“If we do those four things, that’s going to secure the border and then we can move forward in growing our economy in this country and not worry about that problem,” he said.
Christie faced steady opposition in his Des Moines speech, with a group of pro-immigrant protesters chanting “Citizenship now” throughout the event.
The governor wants to add FBI agents — along with officers from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — into the ranks of border control agents to “interdict the guns and the drugs that are coming across our border.”
“They’re the ones that are the best at it, and we need to put them there,” he said.
He also said using electronic surveillance with drones equipped with cameras and technical equipment could better establish how to put law enforcement “in the right places,” as well as allowing officers to patrol areas that are not easily accessible.
“We’re using drones all over the world; we should use them on the southern border,” Christie told the crowd.
He said the most important step to securing the border is to require every employer in the United States to use the E-Verify system, which allows businesses to determine whether a potential employee is eligible to work in the country.
“The reason these folks are coming across the border is to work, and if they know that you cannot be employed in this country if you are not here legally, then they’re not going to come,” Christie said, calling employers “part of the problem.”
He added that they should be “fined double what their profit is from hiring cheap or illegal labor.”
“Be careful, don’t go for just one easy answer. This is a tough problem that we haven’t been able to solve for 30 years,” he said. “Let’s use all four of those tools to do it really effectively and really efficiently.”
Christie added that no one "who knowingly came here illegally should become a citizen."