Obama Executive Action on Immigration

The most significant development in the decades-long struggle for immigration policy change has been President Obama’s Nov. 20, 2014 announcement of executive action on immigration.

Providing for a temporary relief from deportation for some 4 million undocumented immigrants, Obama finally responded to a call for a suspension of detentions and deportations from grassroots communities and others, following the 2014 midterm elections and the acknowledgment of the death of immigration reform legislation in Congress, that had been apparent for several months before.

The executive action leaves the majority of undocumented without options for temporary relief; they will still be subject to deportation. Enforcement efforts at the border will be continued and increased as a result of the executive action.


This section provides information, analysis, resources and updates to the Executive Action announced on November 20, 2014.

Click here to read NNIRR’s Open Letter to President Barack Obama on the Eve of His Announcement of Executive Action on Immigration

News updates:

Obama’s Immigration Plan Could Grant Papers to Millions, at Least for Now (NY Times, Nov. 15, 2014)

Obama’s expected immigration order: How many would be affected? (Pew Research, Nov. 14, 2014)

Previous news articles on Obama executive action:

Obama Said to Weigh Delaying Action on Immigration (NY Times, August 29, 2014)

5 things Obama may do to change immigration system (USA Today, Aug. 27, 2014)

Despite repeated calls from Washington immigration reform lobbyists to push the House of Representatives to vote on immigration reform, the process has been stalled in the current Congress. More than a year and a half after passage of an immigration reform bill in Senate, immigration reform has finally been declared “dead” by Washington lobbyists and politicians, and President Obama declared that he would take executive action to provide administrative relief from deportation for some undocumented immigrants. The announcement of executive action has been delayed a number of times, and Republican congressional members have said they will oppose such executive action. They no doubt would consider new immigration proposals in the next Congress beginning in January 2015, when they will dominate both the House and the Senate.

Many advocates, NNIRR included, had determined some time ago that final passage of an immigration reform bill was unlikely in the present Congress. If anything, immigration reform action in the Republican-dominated House would produce additional, harsh immigration enforcement proposals. Certainly not the type of immigration reform we want, and not the kind of legislation that would improve the Senate bill, S. 744, which has its own problems.

While some groups held out “hope” that immigration reform would be taken up, there was little distinction made between “good” and “bad” proposals. At this point, the “bad” proposals have the upper hand; even in a Senate-House conference process to reconcile legislative proposals, decent reform provisions would weigh weakly next to the problematic policies and programs woven throughout the immigration reform “package”.


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Fair, Just, Humane Immigration Reform A snapshot of NNIRR’s key proposals for immigration reform in the present round. Download the PDF.


As immigration reform emerges as a political priority, NNIRR has participated in a number of conversations and meetings with members and allies on principles and positions, or has endorsed position statements. Click here.


Over the years, NNIRR has taken consistent, rights-based positions on immigration policy and reform proposals. Click here to read and download key documents that reflect our principles and positions.


Go here to see congressional and White House immigration reform positions and documents.


In this section we share a variety of related and useful reports, position statements and reports from the immigrant rights movement and beyond. Click here.


Legislative advocacy CAN be a great community education and organizing vehicle. We encourage community organizers to check out this free download of our BRIDGE module:

Building Immigrant Community Power Through Legislative Advocacy

This workshop for BRIDGE was created as a tool for organizers, community groups, educators, activists and leaders to support our work to affect and shape the change we want to see. Focused on work at the federal level, the popular education elements of this module can easily be applied to our work at state and local levels. Developed by Rosita Choy and Eunice Cho with input and support from community groups, advocates and activists throughout the country.