"Let's see if we can get this done," he added. "And let's see if we can get this done this year."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Wednesday that immigration reform "needs to be addressed," but he didn't offer any indication whether he would press his caucus on a solution mirroring Senate legislation passed earlier this year. While several House Republicans are still working on the issue, support among the GOP remains tepid, especially after a stinging loss that was the government shutdown fight.
Obama shook off critics who say that the chances of immigration reform passing the House are slim to none Thursday.
"The press will declare something dead, 'it's not going to happen,' but that can be overcome," he said to applause of many activists in the audience.