WASHINGTON (AP) - Facing weakening support among Hispanics, President Barack Obama expressed deep frustration Wednesday over what he called an inaccurate and damaging perception that he can fix the nation's flawed immigration system on his own.
"This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true," Obama said during a White House roundtable targeting Hispanic voters, a key constituency for the president's re-election campaign.
Obama said comprehensive immigration reform continues to be a "top priority" for his administration. But he blamed Republicans in Congress for failing to join Democrats in supporting legislation that would address the flow of foreigners into the U.S. and deal with illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
"Only a few years ago, you had some Republicans who recognized that we needed to fix our immigration system," Obama said, noting that his predecessor, George W. Bush, was a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform. "Right now you do not have that kind of leadership coming from the Republican party."
A strong majority of Hispanics supported Obama's election in 2008. But his support among Hispanics has declined, as it has in the broader population. A recent Gallup survey found 48 percent of Hispanic voters approving of Obama's job performance, compared with 60 percent in January.