President Barack Obama will unveil a set of sweeping executive actions that will extend work permits and protection from deportation to roughly 5 million immigrants in a prime-time address Thursday night.
The president will also announce plans to shift enforcement efforts, ordering federal law enforcement officers to narrow their focus to those illegal immigrants with criminal records, gang affiliations or ties to terrorism.
And Obama will expand the total number of high-tech visas that are available, as well as loosen restrictions so that more would-be entrepreneurs can travel legally to the United States to launch companies.
The president and other Cabinet and senior administration officials plan to “fan out” across the country over the coming weeks in order to promote the executive actions, according to one aide.
“Today our immigration system is broken and everybody knows it,” Obama said. “It’s been this way for decades and for decades we haven’t done much about it.”
The moves are all aimed at “bringing some accountability to our broken immigration system,” a senior administration official said Thursday.
Photo Credit: The Wall Street Journal