Not surprisingly, Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he would swiftly veto any legislation that seeks to reimburse sanctuary cities for any federal funds they may lose under President Donald Trump.

Trump signed an executive order in January that directs the federal government to withhold federal funds, to the extent that’s legal, from jurisdictions that don’t share information about their residents’ immigration status with federal law enforcement agencies.

New Jersey has some cities and counties that consider themselves sanctuaries. Democrats in the Legislature say they’ll pass a bill providing state grants to make up for any funding cuts, though the bill didn’t get a vote as planned in the Senate today.

“That will never happen when I’m governor,” Christie said on New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Ask the Governor.’ “That one – you know usually I don’t talk about bills beforehand. That one’s so outrageous and such political pandering that I will veto that on arrival.”

Christie said mayors wouldn’t face personal sanctions but that cities that lose federal funding and that “that’s pretty big.”

Christie said he has received no reports so far of arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in New Jersey. He said he would think there would be communication with the attorney general if there had been.

Agents arrested more than 680 people around the country this past weekend, including in the New York area, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Christie explained what he has meant in recent TV interviews, in which he has said he’d be a willing partner on enforcing immigration law.

“Either you’re going to change the federal law or you’re going to enforce it. Right now we just ignore it,” Christie said.

“If the president wants to change the law, he’ll have a willing partner in me in discussing how the states feel about how the law should be changed. If he wants to enforce the federal law, I’m not going to willingly sit by and let cities ignore it,” Christie said.

But for all the time I’ve been governor, Barack Obama’s been president, who has sanctioned sanctuary cities. So I didn’t have anything to do. Now if I’ve got a willing partner as president who wants to make sure that people follow the law and the law’s enforced, I’m all for it,” he said.


New Jersey: Decoded cuts through the cruft and gets to what matters in New Jersey news and politics. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.


Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5 and the editor of New Jersey: Decoded. Follow @NJDecoded on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com.

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