President's Immigration Accountability Executive Action of November 20, 2014: Overview and Issues [February 24, 2015] [open pdf - 490KB]
"On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his Immigration Accountability Executive Action which would revise some U.S. immigration policies and initiate several programs, including a revised border security policy for the Southwest border; deferred action programs for some unauthorized aliens; revised interior enforcement priorities; changes to aid the entry of skilled workers; promoting immigrant integration and naturalization; and several other initiatives the President indicated would improve the U.S. immigration system. The most controversial among these provisions would grant deferred action to as many as 5 million unauthorized aliens. The President announced the executive action through 10 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memoranda, 2 White House memoranda, and 3 Department of Labor (DOL) fact sheets. […] According to the President, the action was taken in response to the absence of legislation addressing major problems within the immigration system. The President has stated that his executive action is temporary, and that his successor can rescind some or all of its provisions. Those opposed to the executive action argue that it was taken largely for political purposes. They contend that once granted, the temporary measures it encompasses would be difficult to revoke. Separately, a debate has arisen as to whether the President has the legal authority to take such action, with the Administration and others arguing the President's action falls within his authority, and many in Congress arguing the President has overstepped it. That debate and its attendant legal questions are beyond the scope of this report."
CRS Report for Congress, R43612