New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is not an official candidate for president but has been spending a lot of time traveling to other states recently, was back in the Garden State on Tuesday sounding like he's running for something.

Gov. Chris Christie on Long Beach Island (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

During a modified town hall meeting on Long Beach Island, Christie was asked to comment on the surge of illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border into the U.S. in recent months.

"It's a serious problem and President Obama has done an awful job of securing our border," he said.

The governor said Obama has sent a signal to people in other countries that they could come here illegally with the possibility that they could stay -- which is the wrong signal to send.

He also said there has been no confirmation, so far, that any of these immigrants will be sent to New Jersey, but that may happen.

If it's to federal facilities in New Jersey, they have jurisdiction over that, not me, so I'll have very little to say about it. What I've said to folks is, what I'm really concerned about is if folks come here, then what happens once they come here, and who's enforcing the idea that they're going to show up at their immigration hearings? I think the first thing we need to do is to secure our border. A country is not really a country if you don't have secure borders."

Protesters congregate outside Gov. Christie's town hall event (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

The governor said he's been told by members of the Obama administration that border crossing numbers have started to go down, but "we still have had thousands and thousands and thousands of people who have presented themselves at the border and gone over it, and it's going to be a continuing problem until they get that problem fixed first."

Christie described the situation as an incredibly difficult problem "that happens when you have inaction in Washington, D.C., and this is where the Congress is to blame too. We need to deal with this immigration issue, we need to secure our borders, we need to deal with the problem we have inside the country right now."

One of the protesters at Gov. Christie's town hall (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)


In closing, Christie said this boils down to a safety issue.

"A secure border also helps to keep the homeland safe," he said. "It's not just a money issue, and we suffered from this problem acutely in New Jersey 13 years ago when the 9/11 attacks took place."