Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a document criticising what it says are serious failings in the November Immigration Accountability Executive Actions made by the US president.

The so-called Obama Plan expands the eligibility for "temporary legal status" for migrants who crossed US borders as children, as well as for the parents of US citizens and permanent residents.

However, HRW says these immigration actions will merely delay, rather than cancel the deportation of more than four million unauthorised migrants living in the US.

Approximately 50,000 parents of US citizen children are apprehended and deported at the US border each year.

Antonio Ginatta, US advocacy director of HRW, said, “The mass deportation policies of recent years have left hundreds of thousands of families forcibly separated.”

“The Obama administration and Congress have much more to do to uphold the rights of migrants and their families.”

The document released on Thursday seeks to clarify the position in which immigrants find themselves, criticising President Barack Obama for allegedly failing to address the rising number of federal prosecutions for illegal border entry and re-entry - the most common prosecutions in the US.

On November 20, 2014, Obama used his executive authority to make sweeping non-permanent changes to the US immigration system without legislative action by Congress.

During his speech to launch the executive orders on immigration last November the US president was heckled with calls to end deportations of Hispanic immigrants.

The president responded, “You’re absolutely right that there have been significant numbers of deportations. That’s true. But what you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took action to change law.”