Citing Congressional inaction on long-standing efforts to pass immigration reform, President Obama announced, on June 30th, his intention to use executive authority to make potentially far-reaching changes to the nation’s immigration system. Speaking one year after the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that has failed to elicit a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, the President directed his team to compile and recommend available immigration-related executive actions by the end of Summer 2014. While most substantive immigration reforms require Congressional approval, the President is expected to continue and possibly expand the Deferred Action program, which grants work authorization and deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors and meet certain criteria, as well as to fine-tune current deportation guidelines, strengthen border security, and increase legal assistance to individuals in deportation proceedings.

Underscoring the urgency of fixing the nation’s broken immigration system, the President’s announcement also coincided with the administration’s plans to request more than $2 billion in emergency funding to address the historic influx of undocumented migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as strategic efforts to redirect immigration enforcement resources as a result of the recent migration wave.