(CNN) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blamed the Obama administration for the influx of immigrant children at the southern border, but didn't rule out the prospect of accepting children in New Jersey on a case-by-case basis.
"I have great empathy for that situation, but frankly the administration has done an awful job in securing our border, and they need to do that," Christie told reporters in Marion, Iowa, where he campaigned for incumbent Gov. Terry Branstad.
"I don't think ... it matters one bit what your Hispanic population is, as to whether or not you're going to offer help and assistance," he continued. "So we'll take every request that comes based on its merits and make those decisions."
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He stressed that he doesn't want to "participate in encouraging this," but added "we are an empathetic people in this country and we don't like seeing people suffer."
Christie's comments represent a departure from some governors, who have turned down requests from officials to house immigrants during the crisis.
Thousands of children from Central America, many unaccompanied, have streamed across the U.S. border with Mexico this year in what the administration calls an unexpected surge.
All sides agree that it’s become a humanitarian crisis with the federal government struggling to manage the influx.
President Barack Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency funding proposal to address the situation has been received coolly in Congress.
Christie, a potential White House contender, further fueled speculation about his 2016 ambitions with is visit to Iowa. There, he blasted the federal government for refusing to deal with immigration reform "in any meaningful way."
2016 hovers over Christie Iowa trip
While in the Hawkeye State, which holds the first nominating contest in presidential election years, Christie brushed off new poll numbers that indicate about a third of Iowans hold a negative opinion of him.
Christie comes under attack as he heads to Iowa
In March, Christie argued that "they love me in Iowa," saying his direct personality can translate to cultures outside of New Jersey. Asked Thursday if he thinks Iowans still like him, Christie said, “They do.”
“And every time I come here to Iowa I get a great sense of affection and respect from folks here. But, that doesn't mean that you're going to be universally loved,” he said. “And if you want to be universally loved in this business then you're the absolute poster boy for being ineffective.”
New Jersey is not part of the country right! It's kind of like Mexico, if you accidentally drive over the bridge with a firearm you go to prison!
I'm from NJ and I would be happy if our state took them all.
Send them to Camden Inner city, the hallmark of Chris Christie regime. They will find Central America a lot safer ROFL
Christie just changed my opinion of him. If he runs, I will probably vote for him now!
"They are CHILDREN!"
Kristen. Read the comments. They might be children, but like every other hypocritical thought GOPerville has had, this too shines the light on their moral hypocrisies. Right to life, indeed. It is after children are born that their rights, their hopes, their dreams, their wishes stop and the reality of the daily struggle to live starts.
For these kids, it is the promise of never having. God fearing Americans in all their self perceived moral glory pump their chests, stick their noses in the air, and with willful delight, tell these children that America ... yes, THEIR America, is God given. But only to those worthy of God's beneficence, and certainly not those born in filth and squalor.
And especially NOT to "diseased" children from surrounding countries who have suffered the likes of nothing these chest pumping Christians would ever care to relate to.
WoooHooo! Get excited Newark! Even more poor, uneducated and jobless mouths to feed! YEAH!
Be a lot of federal money pouring into NJ coffers
If the cost of transportation is no a problem,(what a way to blow the money), why not send them to Hawaii?
Christie just changed my opinion of him. I would vote for him now if he runs, ESPECIALLY over romney.
I have a better Idea. Let's send all of these ilegal's (Who broke our laws) to Washington DC neighborhood of our politions! Let's see how fast they actually do some work and get this problem fixed. Another option might have all the us votes that think we should let these individual into the country pay a special taxto pay for them.
AMERICA IS BROKE!
End the H1-b visa program (Indian offshoring scam) now! There is no shortage of American STEM qualified candidates for jobs.
Lots of vacant housing in Camden and Trenton!
So sad...but...my relatives had to come in the regular route – through Ellis Island. They were checked for disease and HAD to learn English to become a citizen. In addition, I am worried some of these "kids" might be introducing new diseases into the country and also that some may be gang members. Also, our government is in such bad financial shape, how in the world can we support MORE aliens, especially children? They should return back to their original country and families.
As someone mentioned, Christy is just pimping for Latin/Hispanic vote. Nothing more. Feed.....House....Medical Care....Due Process....Send them home.
No. We can not open the door for them. It is a shame to this country to allow these illegal people come to US. Those people will ruin this country. I also, refuse my tax used by them.
Build a FENCE........... Other countries HAVE successfully stopped illegal entry
Thank you, New Jersey. Leave it to MY home state to be the first (besides the President) to show some compassion for this situation. Listening to people rant about denying amnesty is ridiculous. The JUDGE decides whether or not to grant amnesty, not the President. And certainly not a bunch of whiny republicans are not the deciders. Grow the heck up.
"I have great empathy for that situation, but frankly the administration has done an awful job in securing our border, and they need to do that," .
This humanitarian crisis is not about "securing the border." They came to the border guards and surrendered for asylum. Christie is looking to both sides for votes. He courts the GOP base with his "secure the border" talk, then goes after the Hispanic vote by painting himself as a "compassionate conservative." He is a Machiavellian bully who calls people things such as stupid or idiotic, tells them to shut up, and now tries to come across as a caring Governor. Hopefully this is his last term as a leader in any capacity.
NJ needs more illegals like Mississippi needs more Klan members. ship 'em back where they came from
This is extremely ironic considering Christie is anti-teachers, anti-cop, and anti-firefighters. He's going to allow a flood of children without families but won't support the unions who will be there to care for them and educate them??
If they spend any time in New Jersey, they will beg to go back home.....
Unfortunately, Mr. Christie, empathy is seen as encouraging the behavior. A couple of smaller decisions can lead to something like this (i.e. the Dream Act). You give these folks an inch, they'll take three miles.
The governor's mansion must be huge. I'll bet he isn't asking the legal citizens of his state about housing them. More political theater for the run in 2016.
Trust me, they spend any time in New Jersey, they will beg to go back home......
I don't see why we can't build and Ellis Island in Brownsville.