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Executive Action on the Horizon

As soon as next week, President Obama could sign an executive order protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to stay and work in the United States. At this point, it is unclear exactly what the executive order will include. According to the New York Times, the plan will most likely include providing work permits to undocumented immigrants who are the parents of US citizens or legal permanent residents and shielding them from deportation. Depending on the details of this plan, this could affect between 2.5 and 3.3 million immigrants living in the United States without papers.

The White House may also consider extending protections to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children but do not qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by Obama two years ago.

Regarding legal immigrants and the issue of border security, the New York Times says,

"Mr. Obama’s actions will also expand opportunities for legal immigrants who have high-tech skills, shift extra security resources to the nation’s southern border, revamp a controversial immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities, and provide clearer guidance to the agencies that enforce immigration laws about who should be a low priority for deportation, especially those with strong family ties and no serious criminal history.

A new memorandum, which will direct the actions of enforcement and border agents and immigration judges, will make clear that deportations should still proceed for convicted criminals, foreigners who pose national security risks and recent border crossers, officials said."

President Obama had promised earlier this year to us his executive powers to enact changes in immigration law if the House of Representatives didn't vote on the Senate bill that passed last year. House Republicans blocked the vote but Obama decided to delay any executive action until after the midterm elections. Even though the Democrats lost control of both the House and the Senate in the midterm elections, President Obama appears to determined to act.

We will keep you updated as this story develops. Please see the New York Times article for more information.

"Obama Plan May Allow Millions of Immigrants to Stay and Work in U.S." by  Michael D. Shear, Julia Preston, and Ashley Parker. The New York Times. November 13, 2014.

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