In remarks at a Cinco de Mayo event at the White House, Obama said the controversial immigration law passed in Arizona showed why the federal government needs to take action.

The Arizona law, he said, would turn legal immigrants and citizens into "subjects of suspicion and abuse."

"You can't start singling out people beacuse of who they look like or how they talk or how they dress," he said.

Instead, Obama called on Congress to enact "common sense, comprehensive immigration reform" that would focus on securing the border and providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

"I want to begin work this year, and I want Democrats and Republicans to work with me," Obama said.

Senate Democrats have been at odds over whether to begin work on immigration or climate change first.

Though initial reports indicated that Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison White House races clock to beat GOP attacks MORE would bring up immigration, Reid has since said that the climate bill will be first up.