Obama reiterated his concern that the US educates the best and brightest but then ships that talent overseas or expels talented young people who have grown up as Americans and want to further their education or serve in the military, the White House said in a statement.
He said this during a meeting with influential Hispanics from across the US to discuss the importance of fixing the broken immigration system for Americas 21st century economic and security needs.
"The President reiterated his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform that both strengthens security at borders while restoring accountability to the broken immigration system, and pointed out that perpetuating a broken immigration system is not an option if America is to win the future," the White House said.
Obama expressed his deep disappointment that Congressional action on immigration reform has stalled and that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act failed to pass in the Senate after
Obama also noted that the only way to fix the immigration system is through legislative action in Congress, and that he cannot unilaterally change the law, it said.
He made it clear that while his Administration continues to improve legal immigration system, secure borders, and enhance immigration enforcement so that it is more effectively and sensibly focused on criminals, more voices are needed to elevate the immigration debate beyond the politics, false debates, and rhetoric that have dominated the issue," the White House said.
Obama urged meeting participants to help elevate the debate, and to forge partnerships across sectors and across demographics.
"There was broad agreement that more voices are needed to change the tone of the debate so that Congress acts to fix the broken system in a way that upholds America's history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants," the statement said.
Obama reaffirmed that he will continue to work to forge bipartisan consensus and will intensify efforts to lead a civil debate on this issue in the coming weeks and months.