Critics said that some of Mr. Christie’s comments on Monday were so puzzling that they made him seem as if he were inventing reasons to obstruct the bill.

At one point, he seemed to make a comparison between the state legislation and a failed federal bill, also known as the Dream Act, saying he did not want “a program that’s richer than the federal program.” While the bills have similar names, they are very different: The federal bill creates a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants brought to the country as children.

Mr. Christie has not commented publicly on the matter since the radio interview.

“Frankly it’s a game we’re all playing: trying to divine what these comments mean,” said Ari Rosmarin, public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. “It is not a way to have a conversation about a policy issue.”

But a spokesman for Mr. Christie said in an email on Wednesday that the governor “supports New Jerseyans receiving in-state tuition, no matter how they came to this country.”