Obama's executive actions will defer for three years deportation for people who came to the U.S. as children and for parents of children who are citizens or legal permanent residents. The changes wouldn't give these people, primarily from Mexico and Central America, an easier path to citizenship.
The Department of Homeland Security will streamline the visa process for foreign workers and their employers and give high-skilled workers a more "portable" work authorization, according to a White House fact sheet. DHS also will expand options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet criteria for creating jobs, and for graduates of U.S. universities in science and technology fields.
The administration won't expand the number of H1-B visas for higher-skilled workers important to the technology industry.
Anticipating opposition, especially from House Republicans, Obama coupled the deferred deportations with a promise to deport undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of felonies, are members of gangs or pose national security risks. He also said he would devote more resources to border security.