“We need tuition equality for everyone in New Jersey,” the activists said the governor said in a speech to the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey.

Afterward, the activists said, Mr. Christie told one of them that “We will get it done in the lame-duck.”

A message left with Mr. Christie’s office Sunday morning wasn’t returned.

Mr. Christie had previously opposed the federal Dream Act, which would have legalized illegal immigrant students and made them eligible nationwide for in-state tuition.

New Jersey press accounts said Mr. Christie said that would have amounted to “subsidizing” them with taxpayers’ money.