In one of his strongest statements yet, President Obama says he is determined to reform immigration policy in the first year of a second term.
Obama, speaking to the Univision television network over the weekend from Cartagena, Colombia, said fixing the broken U.S. system is important to him.
"This is something I care deeply about," he told the Spanish language network. "It's personal to me."
The president said lack of support from Republicans in Congress have thwarted his efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform so far. "I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term," he said.
Obama the candidate also took a swipe at Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. He said Romney's support of hardline state laws such as Arizona's is "very troublesome."
"These are laws that potentially would allow someone to be stopped and picked up and asked where their citizenship papers are based on an assumption," the president said during the interview.
The Obama administration has filed suit against Arizona, Arizona, Utah and South Carolina, challenging the laws on constitutional grounds.
Recent national polls show Obama has a large advantage over Romney among Hispanic voters, and Romney's support for Arizona-style lawmaking is part of the reason.