The most important development of 2014 in immigration law came in President Barack Obama’s Executive Action announcement on Nov. 20. The president took a historic step using his executive powers to order Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to direct their agencies to implement policies and pass regulations that would crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deportations, allow certain undocumented immigrants temporary status in the United States and make it easier for high-skilled foreign workers to enter and stay here.

Enforcement priorities will focus on deporting people who threaten national security and public safety including suspected terrorists, violent criminals, those convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors, gang members and persons attempting to cross the border on or after Jan. 1, 2014. This action will also alleviate the backlog of immigration cases by closing low enforcement priority cases and quickly adjudicating cases which meet the new enforcement priorities.

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