Confident Obama predicts success in immigration appeal

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Confident Obama predicts success in immigration appeal
President Barack Obama heads to Miami tonight for a town hall meeting on immigration while a political fight over funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security comes down to the wire as it is linked to efforts to defeat President Obama’s executive order on immigration.
President Obama answers questions from the public as he sits down with Telemundo MSNBC's anchorman Jose Diaz-Balart during a town hall meeting on immigration at Florida International University in Hialeah, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (Pool photo by Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
President Obama arrives to join Telemundo MSNBC's anchorman Jose Diaz-Balart for a town hall meeting on immigration at Florida International University in Hialeah, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (Pool photo by Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
President Obama sits down with Telemundo MSNBC's anchorman Jose Diaz-Balart, left, during a town hall meeting on immigration at Florida International University in Hialeah, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (Pool photo by Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
President Obama waves from Air Force One as he leaves Miami after a town hall meeting on immigration at Florida International University in Hialeah, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (Pool photo by Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) answers a question from the audience during an immigration town hall meeting and Telemundo interview at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) is interviewed by Noticiero Telemundo Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart (L) during an immigration town hall meeting at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama answers a question from the audience during an immigration town hall meeting and Telemundo interview at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Actress Diane Guerrero (C), who stars as an inmate on the popular Netflix series Orange is the 'New Black,' sits in the audience as US President Barack Obama answers questions during an immigration town hall meeting at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) and Noticiero Telemundo Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart are seen on a monitor backstage as they arrive for an immigration town hall meeting at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors walk from the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, Ark., after the grand opening of the building Wednesday, April 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
FILE - In this April 23, 2014, file photo, California Highway Patrol officers Armando Garcia, right, and Ray Patton explain to immigrants the process of getting a drivers license during an information session at the Mexican Consulate, in San Diego. California is gearing up to start issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally in a bid to make the roads safer that could also give more than a million people access to state-issued identification. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)
FILE - In this April 23, 2014, file photo, a crowd of approximately 80 immigrants fill a room as they listen to officials explain the process of getting a drivers license, during an information session at the Mexican Consulate, in San Diego. California is gearing up to start issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally in a bid to make the roads safer that could also give more than a million people access to state-issued identification. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi,File)
FILE - In this April 23, 2014, file photo, California Highway Patrol officer Armando Garcia explains to immigrants the process of getting a drivers license during an information session at the Mexican Consulate, in San Diego. California is gearing up to start issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally in a bid to make the roads safer that could also give more than a million people access to state-issued identification. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi,File)
FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2013, file photo, Alberto Pizon, right, a representative of Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Latino Health Access group provides free information to Paulino Zarate, 65, left, on the new health options available during a health fair promoted at the Binational Health Week event held at the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles. Health care advocates say President Obama’s immigration action should enable hundreds of thousands of low-income immigrants in Calif. to qualify for Medi-Cal even as state officials say it’s premature to comment. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2013, file photo, Rosa Guerra, 52, right, gets a free eye exam during the Binational Health Week event held at the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles. Health care advocates say President Obama’s immigration action should enable hundreds of thousands of low-income immigrants in Calif., to qualify for Medi-Cal even as state officials say it’s premature to comment. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
A group of Cuban exiles display banners criticizing President Obama as the presidential motorcade arrives at Florida International University in Hialeah, Fla., for a town hall meeting on immigration on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (Pool photo by Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama waves to the audience while posing for photos after an immigration town hall meeting and Telemundo interview at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) is interviewed by Noticiero Telemundo Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart during an immigration town hall meeting at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) is interviewed by Noticiero Telemundo Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart during an immigration town hall meeting at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) waves to the audience with Noticiero Telemundo Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart (L) while posing for photos after an immigration town hall meeting and Telemundo interview at Florida International University in Miami on February 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama salutes as he exits the Marine One helicopter on return to the White House after speaking about immigration in Miami, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama waves as walks across the South Lawn of the White House after speaking about immigration in Miami, on his return in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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MIAMI (AP) -- President Barack Obama urged immigrants thrown into limbo by legal wrangling to keep planning for eventual relief, professing confidence Wednesday that his deportation directives won't be thrown out in court.

"This is just one federal judge," Obama said of the district judge in Texas who put Obama's order on hold. "We have appealed it very aggressively. We're going to be as aggressive as we can."

Obama said he expected to win when a U.S. circuit court hears his appeal, but added that his administration will "take it up from there" if the appeal fails, in an apparent reference to the Supreme Court. He said at each stage of the process, the White House believes it has the better argument.

The strong-willed defense of Obama's executive actions came as millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally wait to see whether Obama's order shielding them from deportation will be upheld. A 26-state coalition led by Texas is suing Obama, alleging he overstepped his legal authority.

Dismissing those hoping for a presidential about-face, Obama insisted he was "absolutely committed" to the new policy, which he described as focusing deportation efforts on felons.

"People should be gathering up their papers, make sure you can show you are a long standing resident of the United States," Obama said at a town hall meeting hosted by the Spanish-language TV network Telemundo. He said immigrants should make sure that by the time the legal issues are sorted out, "you are ready to go."

As Obama spoke in Miami, another immigration drama was playing out in Congress, where lawmakers were attempting to fund Homeland Security over the insistence by some Republicans that Obama's immigration actions be repealed at the same time. Obama derided Republicans for holding national security funding hostage and said he would veto a stand-alone measure to repeal his actions being contemplated in the Senate.

The immigration dispute has increasingly taken on political overtones as focus shifts to the campaign for Obama's successor, raising questions about whether Republicans can appeal to the fast-growing number of Hispanic voters. Obama said the first question for 2016 presidential candidates should be whether they really intend to deport 11 million people living here illegally. If not, voters should demand to know their alternative plan, Obama said.

Of Jeb Bush, a likely Republican candidate who is one of his party's more moderate voices on immigration, Obama said he appreciated that the former Florida governor was concerned about fixing the immigration system.

"I would suggest he talk to the speaker of the House and the members of his party," Obama said.

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Associated Press writer Josh Lederman in Washington contributed to this report.

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