Christie says we need to "detain a lot more people"
On Saturday December 12th I attended a Town Hall with Chris Christie at Weare Middle School, where voting generally takes place. Christie spoke about living through 9/11 for a large portion of the event. When he was finished he began accepting questions.
One young man asked a question about aiding the hungry in foreign countries, to which Christie responded that he had heard the question a thousand times and that he would not support it. I knew immediately that my question would yield a similar response, but I was determined anyway, and Christie called on me next.
I began my question with “Hi. I’m a voter here in Weare, and one of my concerns is the Homeland Security budget. There is a provision in the Homeland Security budget that calls for 34,000 immigrants to be detained daily and 2/3 of these immigrants are sent to for-profit prisons that lobby and donate to presidential campaigns.” I then asked “Would you support legislation against this?”
Governor Christie responded with a sharp “NO. I don’t. This is another one of those questions that have been circulated around, it’s probably the 30th town hall meeting where I’ve gotten the for-profit prison question which usually winds up with my answer being videoed at the same time, so whoever’s going to video this one, show me where the camera is, I’m happy to give my answer again” which the crowd responded to with laughter.
Christie continued, “The fact is that the use of for-profit prisons or not should be a decision that the government gets to make based upon whether or not they want to make the capital investment to build more prisons. Building prisons is an expensive proposition.” Christie went on and stated “If the inference you’re trying to draw is that the only reason we are detaining people is to feed the private prison beast, you’re sadly mistaken. We are detaining people because we should be detaining a lot more people than what we are doing.”
Christie said we have 11 million people in this country who are here illegally and that they come from both our airports and over our southern border. After describing this he said “I don’t believe it’s that we are detaining too many, and I don’t believe that we are detaining too many because we want to help private prisons. What we are doing is not nearly detaining enough, and not removing enough people.”
If Chris Christie was trying to make me feel uncomfortable about asking tough questions, it did the exact opposite. It motivated me to get more information about this issue. More people need to know about the issues that GUI is raising up, and we should never feel discouraged to ask OUR presidential candidates these questions.
By the way, the Christie campaign posted video from the Weare Town Hall on its website after the event, but his interaction with me was omitted.