updated 3/21/2010 4:23:37 PM ET 2010-03-21T20:23:37

President Barack Obama is reassuring immigration reform advocates that he is committed to working with Congress on a comprehensive bill to fix a "broken immigration system."

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In a videotaped message presented on giant screens to thousands marching on the National Mall, Obama warned of the cost of inaction. He said problems with today's immigration system include families being torn apart, employers gaming the system and police officers struggling to keep communities safe.

Obama said he would do everything in his power to forge a bipartisan consensus on immigration reform this year.

Activists have been frustrated about the pace of that reform.

Obama's taped comments were released just as he worked to get last-minute votes on a health care overhaul.

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