In a speech from the White House, President Obama announced his plan of executive action to defer the deportations of 4 million illegal immigrants. He also announced his intent of making it easier for high-tech or skilled employees to obtain status in the US, and refocusing on the highest-priority cases, such as deporting felons, gang members and recent border-crossers which as he referred to as “actual threats to our security".
Under the announced plan, the following people will be eligible to apply for a temporary relief from deportation for a period of three years.
Undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the country for at least five years.
The president also is expanding the 2012 program, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") which covers people brought into the country illegally as children. The plan would revise the DACA protection to provide three years of relief, instead of the current 2-year relief. It also would change the age cap, the date by which applicants must have arrived in the United States, from June 15, 2007, to Jan. 1, 2010, officials said. Obama’s plans would expand that program by raising the maximum current age from 30 and raising the maximum arrival age above 16.
While the Republican vow to fight, White House lawyers expressed confidence that the President has the legal power to enact the changes.
The plan would mean that those who eligible and apply would be protected from deportations through the first year of Obama’s successor in 2017. That would leave it up to the new administration to determine whether to continue the program or abruptly eliminate it.