By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent
The Star-Ledger calls it a nutty idea.
The Bergen Record, an outlandish proposal.
“Now I used the example of Federal Express. Now no one other than the ridiculous liberal press in this country believes that what I meant was that we’re gonna put people in a box and track them like FedEx,” said Gov. Chris Christie.
In New Hampshire last week, Christie continued to defend his suggestion.
“If Federal Express can tell where your package is from the minute it leaves your house to the minute it gets to its destination, the technology exists for us to be able to keep track of people who come here on visas,” said Christie.
Christie contends that 40 percent of America’s undocumented are foreigners initially here on tourist, student, or business visas.
One solution to the immigration problem, he says, is to track those people and take action when their visas expire.
“I had a woman reporter on CNN this morning ask me, ‘are you talking about putting a chip inside people?’ Seriously, this is the crap you get when you’re running for president of the United States,” Christie said.
Christie says all he means is the technology exists.
“I’m not talking about labels or chips or packages. This is what we call in the English language an analogy,” he said.
Immigration advocates like Giancarlo Tello call Christie’s suggestion Orwellian.
“I think once we start limiting and monitoring where people are, putting a GPS or implant or whatever he may be proposing, I think that’s when we’re infringing upon people’s idea of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Tello said.
In New Hampshire the idea goes over better.
“The idea of tracking people? Yeah, I think we need to do that,” Tom Blackman said.
“I don’t want to be tracked unless I have to. But if I’m entering some place illegal, they want to know about me, right? And they have a right to,” Gary Webb said.
By coincidence, Christie’s campaign spokeswoman, Samantha Smith, is the daughter of Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express.
“I kidded around, I’d bring Fred Smith, who founded FedEx, in, he’d fix this in three months,” said Smith.
By week’s end there was a new wrinkle.
“You know what? You don’t need a bar code, and you don’t need a chip. You’ve got ten of them. They’re called fingerprints,” said Christie.
“Everybody gives their fingerprints. You set up a data base, and then you’re gonna have to require folks, as we’re doing now. There’s all sorts of biometric requirements coming up now on drivers’ licenses, whether it’s retinal scans or fingerprints, and then you put that in the data base and if people see someone’s fingerprints come up that’s overstayed their visa, then it’s time to move them out of the country,” Christie said.
Like it, loath it, Christie’s FedEx idea has gotten attention.