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Obama tells faith leaders he won't change immigration laws while Hill action still possible

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama told religious leaders Tuesday that he has no plans to make unilateral changes to the nation's immigration laws while there's still a window for Congress to pass legislation.

Obama met in the Oval Office with six religious leaders. Following the meeting, the president of the Hispanic faith-based organization Esperanza, Luis Cortes, said the president told them that "he would not be doing anything to change the law as it currently exists."

PHOTO: President Barack Obama meets with faith leaders, including far left, Dr. Noel Castellanos, of the Christian Community Development Association in Chicago, far left, and continuing clockwise from the president, Dr. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn., Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Atlanta, Ga., and Dieter Uchtdorf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in  North Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama meets with faith leaders, including far left, Dr. Noel Castellanos, of the Christian Community Development Association in Chicago, far left, and continuing clockwise from the president, Dr. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn., Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Atlanta, Ga., and Dieter Uchtdorf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in North Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A White House official later said that Obama does not foresee acting unilaterally while there is still an opportunity for Congress to pass more sweeping changes to the nation's fractured immigration laws.

Legislation has stalled on Capitol Hill, and Obama has come under pressure from advocates to take executive actions to halt some deportations.

The White House said Obama told the leaders that while his administration can take steps to administer immigration laws, only Congress can permanently fix the broken system.

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