President Obama laid out his plan to use executive authority to improve parts of the U.S. immigration system, including providing temporary protection from deportation for roughly 5 million people. The president said in his speech that he knows the politics around immigration are difficult, but he said he’s seen the families who came to the U.S. for a better life. “These people—our neighbors, our classmates, our friends—they did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life,” he said in his Thursday night address. “They came to work, and study, and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America’s success.”
Under the new policies announced, the Obama Administration will build on the successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by providing temporary relief for the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The new program, to be called Deferred Action for Parents (DAP), will ensure that millions of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children will remain unified with their parents. The president also announced new enforcement policies and steps to improve the adjudication of business and family visas.
And as President Obama said in his speech, the changes will include enforcement priorities to ensure the U.S. is deporting felons instead of separating family members. “Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws,” President Obama said. “And that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security,” not families.
On Friday, President Obama will speak again about his immigration actions at a Las Vegas high school.