The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said the nation's immigration system is "in desperate need of repair" as he opened Congress' first hearing on immigration.

A man holds a Spanish language newspaper with an article on immigration reform (Getty Images)

The session Tuesday comes as President Barack Obama pushes for swift action to pass immigration legislation. But in a sign of the difficulties to come, the Judiciary chairman, Republican Bob Goodlatte (GOOD-latt) of Virginia, cautioned against a "rush to judgment" and said each piece of the issue must be examined in detail.

Goodlatte said there are lots of questions about how any large-scale legalization program would work, how much it would cost and how it would prevent illegal immigration in future.

Obama supports a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country, something many Republicans oppose.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.