Obama also addressed the two cases before the Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage. One challenges the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. The other concerns the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
The president, who just came out in favor of gay marriage last year, refused to predict how the high court would rule but that it "was appropriate for the court to weigh in on this issue." He said that he believes same-sex couples should be able to marry and receive federal benefits the same as heterosexual couples.
"I think people should respect everybody's different opinions on this issue," he said. "But when it comes to the law, everybody should be equal before the law."
The White House on Wednesday announced that Obama would visit Mexico and Costa Rica in May. The president said he would discuss ways to boost trade and economic cooperation with Mexican and Central American leaders.
"A lot of what drives both illegal immigration to the United States, but also what drives a lot of the violence in these countries, is a lack of opportunity," Obama said "If we can help them to grow, that could be good for the United States, that could be good for those countries as well."