New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) may have jumped into the birthright citizenship debate last week, even before real estate mogul Donald Trump propelled the issue into the spotlight by proposing to end it in his immigration platform.
But as more and more candidates have followed Trump’s march to the right, Christie appeared to backtrack a bit on that position in a Thursday interview.
The governor told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham last week that he thought the issue may need to be “re-examined.” Christie offered a more nuanced take in a conversation Michael Smerconish on SiriusXM, however.
“Birthright citizenship is a part of the Constitution. I mean it’s just a simple fact,” he said on “The Michael Smerconish Program.” “Some may not like it, but it’s the simple fact of the matter.”
Christie said that all immigration policies must be put up for discussion if the country hopes to fix its broken immigration system.
“But I don’t want it and I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist. Birthright citizenship does exist,” he added. “It’s a constitutional right, and if that was going to be changed it would have to be changed constitutionally.”
The New Jersey Republican stopped short of calling for an outright end to the policy, as some of his presidential rivals, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Dr. Ben Carson, have done in recent days.