The Hill

By Mike Lillis
02/25/15 – 09:42 PM EST

Participating in a town hall-style immigration forum in Miami, the president said a recent ruling against his new immigration policies by a federal judge in Texas was wrongly decided and promised to use all his legal options to ensure the new programs are ultimately adopted.

“This is just one federal judge. We have appealed it very aggressively. We’re going to be as aggressive as we can,” Obama said during the event at Florida International University, hosted by MSNBC and Telemundo, the Spanish-language media giant.

“I’m using all of the legal power vested in me in order to solve this problem.”

Expressing confidence that the courts will ultimately side in his favor, Obama urged potential applicants to continue gathering the required paperwork in preparation for that day.

“You should be making sure that you’ve got the documents, so that when we have cleared out all the legal problems and the application process is ready to go, that you’re ready to go,” he said.

Obama took some tough questions from immigrants who said they had family members facing deportation even under the more lenient enforcement policies the president has adopted. Obama defended his position in those cases, arguing that his executive powers extend only so far.

“If I include everybody, then it’s no longer prosecutorial discretion, then I’m just ignoring the law,” he said. “Then there really would be a strong basis to overturn everything that we’ve done.”

Obama also sought to alleviate fears among undocumented immigrants that applying to the programs could land them in line for deportation. He acknowledged that there will be isolated “instances” when immigration officials “haven’t gotten the message,” but he vowed there would be “consequences” for any federal agents who ignore the new policies.

“There are going to be some jurisdictions and there may be individual ICE officials or Border Control agents not paying attention to our new directives. But they’re going to be answerable to the head of Homeland Security, because he’s been very clear about what our priorities will be,” Obama said. “If somebody’s working for ICE … and they don’t follow the policy, there’s going to be consequences to it.”

At issue are two new administration programs, launched by Obama in November, to halt deportations and allow work permits for as many as 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

Obama and his Democratic supporters say the president has the power to adopt those changes in the name of prioritizing immigration enforcement efforts given limited funding from Congress.

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