President Obama pressed for fixing the United States’ “broken” immigration system Tuesday night, arguing that it was necessary for the country to “stay ahead in the global race.”

Obama spoke briefly at a White House event celebrating Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. During his speech, President Obama lauded of the accomplishments of Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), and said that their success underscores the need to reform the current U.S. immigration system.

The president also described the United States as “a nation of immigrants. A nation challenged, and shaped, and pushed ever forward by diverse prospective and fresh thinking. And in order to keep our edge and stay ahead in the global race, we need to figure out a way to fix our broken immigration system, to welcome that infusion of newness while still maintaining the enduring strength of our laws. And the service and leadership Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have proved that point time and again."

Obama also spoke of his own experience with AAPI, recalling his childhood spent in Hawaii and Indonesia, and said that the country’s growing diversity was a “good thing.”

"In every election, at every board meeting, at every town across America, we see more and more different faces of leadership setting an example for every young kid who sees a leader who looks like him or her. And that's a good thing. We've got to keep that up,” Obama said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed immigration reform legislation with a bipartisan vote last week, but Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezForeign Relations Democrat calls on Iran to release other American prisoners GOP senator blocks Armenian genocide resolution The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' MORE (D-N.J.) said recently that he's not sure the bill has 60 votes in the chamber yet.