New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Tuesday he would not sign a bill to grant in-state tuition to some illegal immigrants unless lawmakers close loopholes in it.

The decision has implications for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 if Christie decides to enter the race.  


The state Legislature is set to send a bill to Christie’s desk that would allow children who graduated from a New Jersey high school — but came to the country illegally — to receive in-state tuition while attending college in the state. 

 “They’re overreaching and they’re making it unsignable,” Christie said in a monthly radio interview Tuesday, according to reports. “That’s simply not acceptable.”

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, according to The Associated Press

Christie said the state Senate has until Jan. 14 to change the bill, saying, “if they do, I will” sign it. Otherwise he said he would veto the proposal. 

Democrats in the state have accused him of going back on his word after expressing support for the proposal during his gubernatorial campaign. 

During the Republican presidential primary last election, Texas Gov. Rick PerryRick PerryNew Energy secretary cancels Paris trip amid mass strikes against Macron proposal Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in Overnight Energy: Critics call EPA air guidance 'an industry dream' | New Energy secretary says Trump wants to boost coal | EPA looks to speed approval of disputed industry pollution permits MORE (R) was slammed for signing of a similar bill in 2001. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Mellman: Looking to Iowa Potential Dem defectors face pressure on impeachment MORE, 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 — less than the prior two GOP nominees — during his loss in 2012. 

An increasing number of Republicans, including other presidential prospects, have expressed a willingness to reform the immigration system in the wake of the presidential election, but a comprehensive bill has stalled in the House.