PHILADELPHIA (CBS/CNN) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Sunday defended the recent series of raids and arrests of undocumented immigrants across the country, saying President Donald Trump is keeping a campaign promise.
“Laws that are in effect right now have to be enforced and that’s what’s happening right now,” Christie told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Over the last week, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency arrested more than 150 undocumented immigrants in more than six states.
Citing reports from Immigration officials, Christie said a majority of those rounded up have criminal records.
“The president’s focus and his desire is to make sure that first they get violent criminals out of the United States, people who have been charged with violent acts,” the governor said. “That’s what I think ICE is attempting to do.”
Christie said the crackdown on illegal immigration is part of a campaign promise made by President Trump and believes it’s doing more good than harm.
“Things always don’t go perfectly,” he said. “You’re going to have some people who also, by the way, have violated the law, but don’t fit that one category, but that will be the overwhelming minority in all this.”
Christie added that he thinks the raids are making America’s streets safer. He said despite the push from some places in his own state to become sanctuary cities, he’s going to do his part to enforce the laws.
“On the state level, we’re doing the things we have always done in New Jersey to try to keep our streets safe,” Christie said.
Christie also said he stands by his calls for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act — but wants President Trump and Republicans to ensure those covered by its Medicaid expansion aren’t harmed.
“I want them to continue to be able to have coverage. Now, there can be lots of ways to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Christie told CNN.
Still, he said Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion has helped people.
“Five times the number of people are now getting drug abuse treatment,” Christie said, adding he hopes to play a role in making sure people don’t lose coverage.
“I’m really hopeful that we’re going to be able to be a participant in that conversation,” he said.
He also said he has no understanding with Trump that he will enter the White House after departing the New Jersey governor’s office in less than one year — though he said he does expect to remain friends with Trump during and after Trump’s presidency.
“My intention is to go to the private sector and help support my family,” Christie said. “Whenever he calls or I call him and we have conversations, I’m always willing if he asks to give my opinion.”
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