Engaging with a protester at his immigration event in San Francisco today, President Obama said reforming the system "won't be as easy as just shouting" as he urged House Republicans to take action.
A man standing on the riser behind the president interrupted Obama as he was wrapping up his remarks, yelling for him to use his executive power to halt deportations.
"You have a power to stop deportation for all," the man shouted.
"Actually, I don't," the president shot back. "And that's why we're here."
"If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we're also a nation of laws. That's part of our tradition," the president said, once the heckler quieted down.
"The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. And what I'm proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. But it won't be as easy as just shouting. It requires us lobbying and getting it done," he said. "For those of you who are committed to getting this done, I am going to march with you and fight with you every step of the way."
The protester, an undocumented immigrant from South Korea who is a graduate student studying in San Francisco, told ABC News that his grandfather died recently and he could not go home for the funeral because of his immigration status.
Earlier in his remarks, the president outlined the need for comprehensive reform and said "it's up to Republicans in the House to decide if we can move forward as a country on this bill."
In the Thanksgiving spirit, he said "we can carve that bird into multiple pieces. A drumstick here and breast meat there. But as long as all the pieces get done soon, and we actually deliver on the core values we've been talking about for so long, I think everybody's fine with it. They're not worried about the procedures. They just want the result."
"My message to Congress is, rather than create problems, let's prove Washington can get something done," he said.