Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Monday, October 24, 2016

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie pushed back on Sunday against “ridiculous” criticism of his proposal to track foreign visitors the way FedEx Corp tracks packages, saying government needs private-sector expertise to tackle illegal immigration.

“I don’t mean people are packages, so let’s not be ridiculous,” the New Jersey governor told an interviewer on Fox News Sunday who pointed out that foreigners do not have labels on their wrists.

“This is once again a situation where the private sector laps us in the government with the use of technology,” Christie said. “We should bring in the folks from FedEx to use the technology to be able to do it. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Christie said on Saturday that if he wins the November 2016 presidential election, he would use a FedEx-like system to make sure visitors who enter the United States legally on visas depart the country when their time is up. He said that 40 percent of illegal immigrants with visas overstay their visits.

Package delivery companies like FedEx and United Parcel Service Inc use bar-coded labels to record the movements of parcels through sorting facilities to delivery. Christie did not explain how his approach would work, but said he wants visa holders to be tracked from the moment they enter the United States and then notified when it is time for them to leave.Experts say visa overstays pose a growing problem, with some research showing that over half of recent illegal immigrants entered the United States legally.

But the solution could be more a question of political priorities than new technology systems. Some say the federal government could address the problem by sending visa holders text messages when their stay is ending and by recording their departures from all ports and border crossings.

“There’ve been very spotty, half-hearted efforts at doing exit tracking,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonpartisan group that favors a tighter policy.

Christie, who is running well behind among the 17 contenders in the Republican White House race, sought to draw a distinction between his proposal and what he called Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s “simplistic” idea on how to deal with an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Trump, who has a 21-point lead over his closest Republican rival, Mike Huckabee, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey, has said he would deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

“I’ve put forward a much more detailed proposal than that,” said Christie, adding that the presidential race was “not only about personality. It’s also about ideas. And it’s about who can get it done.”

Christie has said he would ask FedEx Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith to devise the tracking system. A FedEx spokeswoman on Sunday declined to comment on his remarks.

But immigrant advocates say the New Jersey governor said little to separate himself from Trump.

“Basically, he put a stamp on everyone’s wrist without providing a solution for the people who are here,” said Dawn Le, spokeswoman for the Alliance for Citizenship, a nonprofit group that wants a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“How is his proposal any different than Donald Trump’s? Would he deport all 11 million people? He didn’t say.”

Trump’s railing about illegal immigrants has prompted other Republicans to talk tougher on immigration but has also rattled Republican Party leaders who are desperate to attract support from Latino voters who have Democrat Hillary Clinton’s pledge to seek citizenship for illegal immigrants if elected in 2016.

(Additional reporting by Alina Selyukh and Eric Beech in Washington and Nick Carey in Chicago; Editing by Clelia Oziel and Lisa Shumaker)

Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie answers a question from the audience during a campaign town hall meeting at Sayde’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill in Salem, New Hampshire August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    As usual with Republican men feasting at the table of denial, track the immigrants…just NEVER the employers savings billions and making a profit from undocumented workers. Some reason Christie can’t admit the huge number of employers ignoring E-Verify? Or is he so two faced and Republican bull he wears blinders to what the rest of the people in the US see?

    • Insinnergy

      He’s a politician from Jersey.
      Basically the absolute definition of corrupt, and full of bullsh1t to the point of bursting. He will say anything, and do anything to get elected, then pay off all his friends. It’s the Jersey way.
      His record as Governor speaks for itself.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        I’ve lived my entire life in NJ…all 68 years. NJ wasn’t always the cesspool it has become. You have to factor in that NJ was truly “The Garden State” until the influx of Noo Yawkahs in the mid 1950s who saw Noo Yawk’s cesspool of corruption was costing them too much. So, they crossed the borders into Jersey and brought with them corrupt land developers salivating over all of the massive farmland they could turn into housing developments. When Jersey farmers refused to give up their ancestral land, some developers did what they did to the farmer in my town, “mysterious barn fires” that destroyed not just silos and barms but acres of crops.

        Then, 1,000 home developments were built and sold to “city people” who hated the idea you had to “walk” to the local garden market for your groceries. So, they whined and complained and got their buses, bought cars they couldn’t afford and basically made demands on natural resources so that every farm that had a brook or stream on it had their water supplies confiscated. My Dad had this happen to our “brook.”

        Once you cut off irrigation from streams to farms, skanky land developers knew the rest of the land they were lusting over would soon be theirs for the taking.

        Today, NJ is the most densely populated state per square mile, on a par with Hong Kong, according to the last US census. And those developers? Well, they went on to bigger and more profitable things…like getting their syrupy mitts in Big Oil. Who puts a refinery in the middle of a residential state like NJ? Greedhead profiteers. Who else?

      • Edward Canady

        Stevie…you must have that confused with Obama and Ill inois, particularly Chicago and it’s community organizers/ activists.

        Yes..their records do speak …volumes Obama’s are shsmeful.
        Molon Labe.

  • FT66

    I think folks have woken up and don’t want to hear from any typical politician anymore. This the man ( Christ Christie), who was not able to track how the closure of the bridge happened (if at all he was not aware of it), now he wants to track immigrants! What BS is this one?

  • Böcker

    Christie stands about as much chance as a fart in a win storm, a real non starter. Count him out!

  • Dominick Vila

    This is, clearly, a desperate attempt by Christie to save his faltering candidacy. Fortunately for all of us, it will not work. He needs a lot more than irresponsible rhetoric like this to Dump Trump. Christie should take a close look at what is happening in Iowa to understand that in spite of all the bizarre statements coming from the GOP, the party elders have already put in place a well crafted strategy to Dump Trump, and anybody that advances the ideas he has advocated.
    Christie, and have of those running for the GOP nomination, already lost. They just don’t know it.
    Dr. Carson is serving two purposes. He is being used to Dump Trump, thinking that most voters will be careful not to attack him. Dr. Carson is also being used to project a semblance of inclusion where none exists. By showing him at 23% in Iowa, neck and neck with The Donald, the GOP is confirming that they are willing to support the best nominee, regardless of ethnicity or gender. Dr. Carson will go the way of Hermann Cain after the GOP gets rid of Trump.
    Carly Fiorina is being groomed for the Nr. 2 spot in the ticket.
    The polls in Iowa are likely to produce the biggest temper tantrum in the history of humanity. I would not be surprised if Trump decides to run as an Independent. He is arrogant, narcissistic, greedy, and petulant, but he is not dumb. He is going to read between the lines, and will soon realize that the establishment is fighting back, and that Iowa is their Trojan Horse.
    In the meantime, Jeb and Walker are well positioned to slug it out when the dust settles.

  • FT66

    That is Christie talking nonsense. How can anyone track people the way packages are tracked? Packages have got numbers, are monitored in all movements from one place to the other. Is it possible to track movements of people from one state to the other within the same country? Talk about throwing something in the air, wait and see if people will buy the idea. No, thanks Christie, it is an ill-thought idea and no one needs to waste time implementing it.

    • RED

      Of course it’s possible. It’s disgusting and shameful and could only come from the minds of diseased Cons. But it is possible. It’s truly frightening how closely the rhetoric of the Cons resembles that of the Nazis.

      • FT66

        OK fine. Myself wouldn’t prefer to treat any human being like a moving object or an animal.