Gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan today announced the endorsement of Minuteman Project Founder Jim Gilchrist.
Gilchrist, a California native whose group opposes illegal immigration and has its members patrol the U.S.-Mexican border as private citizens, said that “Steve Lonegan and I worked together to stop the illegal alien invasion in our country now being facilitated by Barack Obama.”
Gilchrist pointed to a comment Christie made at a church forum in Dover in April, 2008, when he was U.S. Attorney. At the event, Christie said “being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime.”
That caused a bit of an uproar among conservatives and other anti-illegal immigrant activists. CNN firebrand Lou Dobbs even chewed Christie out for it.
Christie moved immediately to mollify them with a statement of clarification by U.S. Attorney Office spokesman Michael Drewniak. It read that “He did not say, nor did he mean, that entering this country through any means other than the appropriate immigration channels is a lawful act.”
“Chris Christie said that being an illegal alien is not a crime and that illustrates his attitude towards this problem,” Gilchrist said in a statement issued by the Lonegan campaign. “And as U.S. Attorney he literally ignored the problem, bringing just 13 cases against illegal aliens in seven years.”
Gilchrist did not mention Lonegan’s hiring in 2007 of two undocumented workers to assemble signs for the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity, which Lonegan ran at the time. That came up during the gubernatorial debate last night, during which Lonegan said that one of the workers was documented.
This is not Gilchrist’s first foray into New Jersey politics. He endorsed Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly when he was running for the GOP nomination for Congress in the 3rd District.
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"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile
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