Immigration: Executive Orders

Immigration Statuses

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), etc.

Who Makes the Change?

US President


The President can issue executive orders at any time however, an executive order is only effective if it falls within the President’s authority.

The President’s role is to lead the U.S. foreign relations and to enforce the laws that are written by the U.S. legislature. Presidents issue executive orders to notify their employees in the executive (presidential) branch how the President would like them to interpret & enforce the laws put in place by the legislature.

The President’s authority over foreign relations gives him authority to determine how U.S. visas should be issued to foreign nationals. However, an executive order dealing with visas is only effective if it does not conflict with written laws or treaties promising visas to specific groups of people.

The President’s authority to enforce the laws passed by the U.S. legislature gives him authority to determine how he would like the U.S. immigration enforcement agencies to interpret and enforce immigration laws, as long as such policies do not contradict any written laws. For example, Presidents identify which undocumented immigrants the President consider a priority for deportation – given the limited resources of the immigration enforcement agencies.

If you would like to receive updates on changes to the U.S. immigration system that could affect UO’s global employees, please subscribe to the Immigration Update email list.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA is based on an executive order. As a part of his authority to determine how to enforce the immigration laws, President Obama officially stated that children who had been brought to the US illegally at a young age by their parents were not a priority for deportation. He also granted work authorization as a part of his ability to enforce the provision of benefits to vulnerable immigrant groups. During his campaign, President Trump stated he would end all immigration executive actions put in place by President Obama. If he chooses to do so, he could dismantle the program in several ways. He could simply stop new DACA applications from being approved; or he could stop renewals from being granted; or he could actually revoke previously-approved periods of DACA. It is not possible to know which route he will choose.

Employees who have a status based on an executive order may want to contact an immigration attorney. Visit the American Immigration Lawyers Association website for information on how to select an immigration attorney and a list of immigration attorneys.