President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States must find a way to welcome immigrants.

"Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity - until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country," he said in his second inaugural address.

After failing to deliver comprehensive immigration reform in his first term, the president has signaled a determination to see a bill passed in Congress this year.

In the meantime, his administration has created a program under which hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people can forestall deportation.

Obama mentioned immigration among the issues pending for the present generation, along with the legalization of same-sex marriage and steps to reduce gun violence.

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," he said, "for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

The president also spoke of the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six teachers were killed on Dec. 14 in a shooting that revived the country's controversy over arms control.

"Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm," Obama said. EFE