In his first news conference after the election, President Obama said he wants to advance a comprehensive immigration reform bill early next year.
"I'm very confident we can get immigration reform done," Obama said.
The president said he is already "seeing signs" that Republicans in Congress, chastened by the election results, are more willing to compromise on immigration reform issues.
"We need to seize the moment," Obama said.
The administration is willing to give Republicans increases in border security and workplace regulations in return for a path to citizenship or legal residency for the 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country. They would have to learn English, clear background checks and pay fees and taxes.
The president got 71% of the Hispanic voted in winning reelection, and much of the reason can be attributed to his administration's immigration policy. Earlier this year, Obama started a deferred action program that allows childhood illegal immigrants to stay in the country without fear of deportation.
What he wants a permanent fix is passage of the DREAM Act.
"Young people who came here through no fault of their own, they should not be under the cloud of deportation," Obama said.