TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie on Monday said a bill that would protect so-called sanctuary cities is already dead.
He was referring to a proposed bill (S2007) that would require the state dole out grants to any municipality or county that has its federal dollars cut for being a sanctuary for unauthorized immigrants.
The governor said he would "veto on arrival" the proposal.
"That will never happen," Christie said. "(It's) so outrageous and such political pandering."
He made the comments speaking on 101.5 FM's "Ask the Governor."
Earlier in the day, state Sen. Brian Stack introduced the bill, which Senate Republican Leader Thomas Kean Jr. (R-Union) said could cost the state billions.
Senate postpones vote on 'sanctuary city' bill
"We're not going to do what federal law enforcement is supposed to do," said Stack (D-Hudson), who's also the mayor of Union City, a sanctuary city.
But the proposal didn't get a vote in the Senate because the absence of some Democratic legislators would have prevented it from passing.
"If they had the votes to pass this bill, it would be up for a vote," Kean.
The state expects to receive $15.7 billion from federal dollars in the current budget, Kean said, arguing whatever portion of that the Trump administration tries to pull from sanctuary cities would put taxpayers on the hook to fill the gap.
But Stack said he is confident the bill will clear the upper house.
Some of New Jersey's largest cities -- including Newark, Jersey City and Camden -- are sanctuary cities.
It's not surprising Christie would veto the measure.
When the governor campaigned for president he argued sanctuary cities should lose any federal funding. As recently as earlier this month, Christie made clear he still supports the measure when he was asked about it during an interview on Fox News.
"Let me tell you, when I ran for president I said I'd do exactly the same thing. The fact is those folks should be enforcing federal law and the federal government has to give tools to the states to be able to help them have have the enforcement of federal law," Christie said on Fox News.Christie discusses sanctuary cities
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