White House Immigration Executive Action | Summary


PassportPresident Obama issued executive actions addressing border enforcement, deferred action for deportation and relief for legal immigrants on Nov. 20, 2014. The House of Representatives is expected to address immigration riders to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill to bar the administration from implementing the executive actions.  Funding for DHS expires Feb. 21. Several state governments filed a legal challenge to the executive action.  This brief summarizes the executive action and provides resources.  


  • Ends Secure Communities and replaces it with a new Priority Enforcement Program to remove convicted criminals in state and local jails.
  • Border Security – creates DHS task forces on southern maritime border and on the southern land border and the West Coast.
  • Reprioritizes enforcement and removal goals to focus on removal of national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border – “felons not families”
  • Streamlines immigration court process to address backlog of pending cases

Deferred Action

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) expansion:  300,000 individuals (estimate)
    • removes the current upper age restrictions (currently up to age 31).
    • extends visa/work permits from 2 years to 3 years.
    • requires arrival in the U.S. prior to 2010 (previously 2007).
  • Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA): 4.1 million individuals (estimate)
    • allows unauthorized immigrants who are parents to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children to apply for employment authorization and protection from deportation if there is continuous residence since January 1, 2010 and if the person is not an enforcement priority; requires fees, background checks and payment of taxes.

Legal Immigration

  • Provisional waivers for family unity: Unauthorized children or spouses of U.S. or lawful permanent residents eligible for visas do not have to leave the country to apply.
  • Parole-in-place or deferred action for families of U.S. Armed Forces Members
  • Employment
    • addresses backlogs from numerical caps for employment visas for H1B, L-1B, O-1; spouses of H1B workers permitted to work, inventors/entrepreneurs without employer sponsor
    • extends optional practical training for F-1 student visas an additional 12 months
  • White House Task Force on New Americans: interagency task force to establish national strategy to identify and support state and local efforts at integration 

Additional Resources

NCSL Resources

Other Resources

Prepared by Ann Morse and Gilberto Mendoza, NCSL Immigrant Policy Project.