"It (immigration reform) would strengthen our economy, it would help with our security, and it would provide relief to families who have lived here for years their children and other members who are US citizens," Obama told reporters at a White House press conference.

Asserting that the Congress should act, Obama alleged that the House Republican leadership for holding back on immigration reform.

“The House Republican leadership is not willing to go ahead and let the process move forward," he said.

During the news conference, he disputed the Republican version of the telephonic call he had with the House majority leader, Eric Cantor.

"You are always kind of surprised by the mismatch between press releases and the conversation. I wished him happy Passover. What I said to him privately is something that I would have said publicly, which there is bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform," he said.

"It was a pretty friendly conversation. I think in his press release, I gather he was referring to the observation that we made a day earlier that it had now been a year since the Senate had passed a strong bipartisan bill, and that although we had heard a lot of talk about the House Republicans being interested in doing something, nothing had happened yet, and suggesting that we need some urgency here. I still feel the same way," Obama said.

Obama said that many Republicans in the House and Senate are supportive of the immigration reform.

"I know it is hard politics for Republicans because there are some in their base that are very opposed to this. But what I also know is that there are families all across the country who are experiencing great hardship and pain because this is not getting resolved," he said.

"I also know that there are businesses around the country that could be growing even faster, that our deficits could be coming down faster, that we would have more customers in our shops, if we get this thing resolved. We know what the right thing to do is," Obama said.

“It is a matter of political will. It is not any longer a matter of policy. And I am going to continue to encourage them to get this done," Obama added.


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