On Friday November 21, 2014, President Obama signed executive orders to grant administrative relief to an estimated 5.9 of 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. according to the White House website, the three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are: Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration, Deporting Felons Not Families, and Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes. The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and will promote naturalization for those who qualify.

For more details, you will find the fact sheet on the White House website here.

In terms of the immigration system, the executive actions will achieve the following:

  • Expand those eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to young people who came to the U.S. before turning 16 and been present since January 1, 2010, and extend the period of work authorization from 2 years to 3
  • Allow parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization provided they pass required background checks
  • Expand the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include spouses and children of lawful permanent residents and children of U.S. citizens
  • Modernize, improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs
  • Promote citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and allow naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee

For more details on these provisions, go to the USCIS website here.