Appealing to Latino voters, President Obama is trying to intensify pressure on House Republicans to approve an overhaul of the immigration system.
To that end, he granted four interviews to Hispanic-oriented television outlets, broadcast Tuesday night, and he renewed his endorsement of a path to citizenship for people who entered the United States illegally.
"It does not make sense to me, if we're going to make this once-in-a-generation effort to finally fix the system, to leave the status of 11 million people or so unresolved," the president told the Denver affiliate of the Telemundo network.
Obama said that refusing to allow undocumented workers to become citizens would leave them "permanently resigned to a lower status. That's not who we are as Americans."
Obama gave the four interviews to TV stations in Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles and the New York/New Jersey viewing area. Two interviewers were with Telemundo affiliates and two with Univision.
Obama criticized majority House Republicans for opposing an immigration bill passed by the Senate. "You have some in the House who believe that immigration will encourage further demographic changes, and that may not be good for them politically," Obama told Telemundo's Dallas affiliate.
"I think some of them are responding to constituencies that may have, in some cases, legitimate concerns about immigration but may not know all the facts. They may not know everything that we've done on the borders to strengthen border security."
He added: "It's time for us to stop worrying about politics and worry about doing the right thing for the country."
Obama also conceded that an immigration bill won't clear Congress in time to meet the August deadline that he has been aiming for.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at email@example.com and on Facebook and Twitter.