U.S. President Barack Obama says he is committed to passing comprehensive reform of the country's immigration laws. The president told a gathering of Hispanics the nation's borders must be strengthened to stop illegal immigration.
President Obama said that while immigration is vital for America's future, illegal immigration cannot continue.
"The American people believe in immigration. But they also believe that we cannot tolerate a situation where people come to the United States in violation of the law."
At the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference, Mr. Obama said the millions of people who are in the U.S. illegally should have the chance to become citizens.
"For those who wish to become citizens, we should require them to pay a penalty and pay taxes, learn English, go to the back of the line behind those who played by the rules. That is the fair, practical and promising way forward," he said.
The president did not give a timetable for getting immigration reform legislation passed, but he said his administration has made progress in strengthening border security.
He also said employers should not be allowed to exploit illegal immigrants to drive down wages.
Mr. Obama, the first African-American U.S. president, predicted that someday there will be a Hispanic president.