President Obama called a meeting to talk about immigration policy in the United States. Leaders of the immigration community came to the White House. They urged the president to use his power to reduce the number of deportations taking place.
Latinos and Democrats praised Mr. Obama for trying to pass an immigration bill that would grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
Many Republican leaders in the House of Representatives oppose the bill. Most experts say no bill will pass before the presidential election next year.
Advocates say Mr. Obama has the power now to defer deportations of illegal immigrant students. Under a bill known as the Dream Act Students would be eligible for legal status. This bill gives citizenship rights to students who complete college or serve in the military.
They asked Mr. Obama to make it easier for illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of American citizens to fix their legal status without having to leave the United States.
Some Hispanic lawmakers have said the president should halt deportations of illegal immigrants whose children are American citizens. An estimated four million young citizens have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant.
In the last two years, immigration authorities have carried out record numbers of deportations, with nearly 400,000 immigrants removed.
The Latino community is protesting the deportations. Republicans in Congress say the administration should do more to remove illegal immigrants.
The president told the White House meeting that he did not believe there were any shortcuts he could use to help illegal immigrants. He is focusing his efforts on passing the bill rather than making smaller changes.