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Obama says immigration overhaul is essential

Obama Attends Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast
President Barack Obama, speaking at the 2009 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast, says U.S. borders must be strengthened to thwart illegal immigration.Alex Wong / Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

President Barack Obama says he is committed to a comprehensive immigration overhaul that includes a way that illegal immigrants can become U.S. citizens.

Obama told a gathering of Hispanics on Friday that U.S. borders must be strengthened to thwart illegal immigration.

He said the millions of people who are now in the U.S. illegally should have the chance to become citizens. He said they must pay a fine and taxes, learn English and "go to the back of the line" of people trying to enter the United States from their home country.

He said employers should not be allowed to exploit illegal immigrants to drive down wages.

Obama made his remarks at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference.