New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) celebrated Tuesday the signing of the Dream Act in his state, which grants in-state college tuition to students in the U.S. illegally who attended a U.S. high school for at least three years. 

Christie had actually signed the bill in December but touted its passage Tuesday.

“Unlike what happens in Washington, that government can actually work for you," Christie said at a ceremony in Union City, N.J. "That things can actually get done, that agreements can be reached, and that commitments can be kept." 


Democrats in Congress have previously tried to pass similar legislation in the last few years, but have failed to garner enough votes. 

President Obama, meanwhile, announced an executive order in 2012 that embraced one of the DREAM Act’s provisions, which temporarily suspends the deportation of young people living in the United States illegally. 

Christie, who previously opposed the bill, said he would support the legislation just before he won reelection in November.

After Election Day, he opposed a part of the bill that would allow students who are illegal immigrants to become eligible for state financial aid. The legislature ultimately passed it, excluding that provision, New Jersey's Star-Ledger reports.  

“Our job, I believe as a government, is to give every one of these children, who we have already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in, an opportunity to maximize that investment for their own benefit, for the benefit of their families, and for the benefit of our state and our country,” Christie said.

Immigration reform on a national level is one of the Obama administration’s top priorities during the president’s second term. Christie’s move suggests he’s trying to gain national appeal as he prepares for a likely presidential run in 2016.