Everything You Need to Know About Obama's Immigration Announcement

Obama's move will legalize roughly half the country's undocumented immigrants.

ByJim Avila
November 20, 2014, 12:26 PM

— -- In a rare primetime nationally televised address, President Obama tonight will unveil the most sweeping executive action on immigration in decades. He plans to circumvent Congress and extend legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants, boost visas for valuable high-skilled workers, and strengthen security along the Southwest border.

"Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken, unfortunately Washington has allowed the problem to fester for too long," Obama said in a video message posted to Facebook.

Who gets relief, and who doesn't, under Obama's plan? How will immigration enforcement change inside the country and along the border? And what will the immediate impact be on families, businesses and communities? Here's everything you need to know:

The Announcement

President Obama will speak live at 8 p.m. ET from the East Room of the White House. On Friday, he will travel to Del Sol High School in Las Vegas to further detail his plans and rally supporters. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, will also attend, officials said. The school is the same place where Obama announced a second-term push for immigration reform in Jan. 2013.

The Action

The White House says Obama will "maximize the use of his authority" to extend temporary legal status to more than 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Who Gets Relief?

  • 4.1 million undocumented parents and families of U.S. citizens who have been in country more than 5 years with no criminal record.
  • 300,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, so-called Dreamers, will be newly eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Current age limits for the program will be dropped, sources say.
  • 400,000 highly-skilled workers will be eligible for visas.
  • Some other smaller categories for relief will bring the number affected above 5 million.

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