At 8PM on November 20th, President Obama summarized the key points of his executive action related to immigration.   He did not provide extensive detail during his speech and it is expected that that detail will be revealed over the next few months.  The announcement covered three key areas:

  1. Increasing border security,
  2. Making it easier and faster for highly skilled immigrants to stay in the country, and
  3.  Taking steps to deal with a portion of the undocumented immigrants.

President Obama provided few details on the first two points and for point one really just summed up that it would  be harder for individuals to enter the country illegally.  Presumably this means that more resources will be spent protecting the U.S. borders.

The majority of the speech dealt with the third point.  President Obama stressed that most individuals who enter this country are not looking for a free ride and want to be contributing members of society. He also stressed the difficulties some families face when their loved ones are deported.  Finally, he commented on how Congress has had ample time to pass immigration reform but has failed to do this.  As a result, he described broad ideas that cover two main points.  First, the government will focus limited government resources on deporting criminals or people who pose a threat to national security. Second, the government will provide some 5,000,000 people the chance to stop deportation and get work authorization.

The President’s plan is that those who meet the following criteria would not be deported and could get work authorization.  In order to qualify, the undocumented individual must:

  1. have been living in the U.S. for more than 5 years & currently be in the U.S.
  2.  have children who are U.S. citizens or have children that green cards
  3.  register with the government through an immigration process
  4. Go through a criminal and backround check, and
  5. pay taxes

In addition, the Executive Order will expand the current deferred action to those individuals who came to the U.S. before age 16 regardless of the current age of the applicant.

The President made it clear that no recent entrants would qualify and this relief would not apply to new entrants.   More details related to the President’s plan will come out over the next few weeks and we will cover any developments.

For more practical or legal advice contact Scott Legal, P.C.. We offer services in a number of business areas including, Immigration, New Business set up, Contract review and development and entrepreneurial support. Call 212-223-2964 or email for a consultation.

To find out more about our immigration and business services, contact Scott Legal, P.C.


Ian E. Scott, Esq. is the Founder of Scott Legal, P.C. He can be reached at 212-223-2964 or by email at

This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising.  Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed.  Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results.  Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

Ian E. Scott is a Harvard Law School Graduate, lawyer and author of Law School Lowdown: Secrets of Success from the Application Process to Landing Your First Job.  Mr. Scott worked as a corporate litigator in the law firm Cleary Gottlieb and currently runs his own law firm Scott Legal, P.C. specializing in Immigration Law & New Business set-up.