President Barack Obama has said he wants to begin working on immigration reform this year. He made the announcement at a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the White House on Wednesday.
Latino groups have been urging Obama to make good on his campaign promise to making immigration reform a top priority, with activists and lawmakers in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus complaining he was not doing enough.
He said an Arizona law that requires police to question people about their immigration status is forcing the issue.
"We can't turn law abiding American citizens and law abiding immigrants into subjects of suspicion and abuse," he said.
"Make no mistake, our immigration system is broken," Obama added. "And after so many years in which Washington has failed to meet its responsibilities, Americans are right to be frustrated. But the answer isn't to undermine fundamental principles that define us as a nation."
Earlier this week the president suggested that reform might have to wait because Congress has no appetite for another big fight.