Updated at 9:52 a.m. ET on 7/17
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama said Tuesday an immigration reform bill without a path to citizenship for those in the United States illegally "does not make sense."
"It does not make sense to me, if we're gonna make this once-in-a-generation effort to finally fix the system, to leave the status of 11 million people or so unresolved," Obama said in an interview with a Telemundo-owned TV station in Denver.
Such a plan, he said, would run counter to American values.
"It's not who we are as Americans," Obama said, according to a transcript of the interview. "That's never been our tradition."
The president conducted interviews with four Spanish-language television stations Tuesday as part of the White House's push for immigration. While a comprehensive plan passed in the Senate in June, it has yet to be considered in the House, where leaders have advocated a piecemeal approach to reform of late. But the president warned against tackling the effort in stages, where there could be a "tendency I think to put off the hard stuff until the end."
"If you've eaten your dessert before you've eaten your meal, at least with my children, sometimes they don't end up eating their vegetables," Obama told a Telemundo-owned station in Dallas, according to the transcript. "We need to, I think, do this as a complete package."
Although the president acknowledged a bill is unlikely to pass before the August Congressional recess, he said he's hopeful a bill will pass by the fall.
But the politics of that, he said, are difficult, especially for Republican House members, many of whom are facing a difficult reality in their home districts.
"I know it's tough, I know the Republican House members are wrestling with it," Obama said. "Many of their constituents are suspicious of this, suspicious of what immigration might mean for their political future in some cases."
Obama said he believes the Senate-passed bill would clear the House if brought to the floor now, but put the onus on House Republicans who he said "still have to process this issue and discuss it further."
House Speaker John Boehner has said he will not allow a vote on the bill unless it is backed by the majority of the Republican conference. The president asked Republicans to show "leadership."
"If we can see some leadership from members of the Republican Party, some of whom I disagree with on a lot of issues, but you know who do seem to recognize this is the right thing to do for the country … eventually we'll get something passed out of the House," Obama said.