“I believe it will get done before my presidency is over,” Obama said during an interview with Univision Radio.
“I’d like to get it done this year,” he added.
However, Obama will likely have little say over whether immigration reform gets across the finish line. House Republicans are sharply divided about the timing of an immigration package, with some saying the issue should remain on the backburner until after the midterm elections.
In the interview, Obama sought to sway GOP members still on the fence over immigration reform.
"The main thing people can do right now is put pressure on Republicans who have refused so far to act,” he said. “And I think sending a strong message to them that this is the right thing to do, it's important to do, it's the fair thing to do, and it will actually improve the economy and give people a chance.”
Yet, Republicans say they have little confidence in Obama to uphold border-security provisions if immigration reform is passed, pointing to unilateral Obamacare delays as proof that the president selectively chooses which laws to enforce based on political benefit.
The White House counters that Republicans have long been split on the issue and argues the GOP will pay a political price for not backing a blueprint that has the support of most voters.
Though Obama has issued a handful of executive orders in recent weeks, he threw cold water on the idea of doing so again in the area of immigration.
"I've been able to prevent deportations of younger people with, the Dream Act kids, by administrative action,” he told Univision. “But the problem is that's just a temporary action that I've been taking. That's not yet the law that's been passed by Congress. And it doesn't help their parents and others who are in the similar situations.”