Ariz. Congressmen attempt to block Obama's new immigration policy

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

WASHINGTON -- A pair of Arizona congressmen are challenging President Barack Obama on his latest decision to stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to this country when they were children.

U.S. Reps. Ben Quayle and David Schweikert, who are running against each other in the GOP primary in the state's new 6th Congressional district, filed separate bills this week that are likely not going anywhere.

Both of the measures seek to block Obama's plans to give illegal immigrants between the ages of 16 and 30 temporary work permits if they have a clean criminal history and meet several other conditions.

The president made the announcement Friday. By Monday, Quayle unveiled his anti-Obama legislation. Schweikert followed Tuesday with a plan to take away money the U.S. Department of Homeland Security needs for the plan.

In introducing the proposals, both congressman accused Obama of overstepping his authority. Schweikert took it a step further and said Obama was acting like a, "dictator."

"If you believe like so many of us do that this violates the constitution, violates the separation of powers act, you actually have an obligation to step up and say, 'you can't do this Mr. President, you’re not a dictator you have to go through Congress," Schweikert said.

Their comments were in line with other Republicans throughout the country. Since Obama rolled out his immigration plan, GOP lawmakers and other officials have attacked the process, saying the president didn't have the power to make such a policy without Congress' approval.

While Republicans opposed what Obama did, it appears the public supports him. A new poll released Tuesday by Bloomberg shows 64 percent of likely voters agree with the president's plan. Thirty percent, according to the survey, disagreed.

While Schweikert and Quayle got big headlines and a lot of media attention from their proposals, the measures are unlikely to move forward. As of Tuesday, the two congressmen were still hustling up support from other lawmakers for their bills in an institution that moves very slowly.

Another reason the bills are likely to fail is the makeup of Congress. While Republicans control the House, Democrats control the Senate. And it would be highly unlikely the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would even allow Quayle or Schweikert's bills to get a hearing.

According to one political GOP political consultant here in the Valley, some pieces of legislation dealing with complex issues can take a decade to pass.

"Immigration, pretty big deal in the United States right now. It’s a very complex issue and it's not going to sail through this legislative session or this congressional session anytime soon," said Gibson McKay, who worked for Arizona Sen. John McCain for five years.

The race between Quayle and Schweikert is one of the most competitive and highly watched primaries in the country because it pits two incumbents against each other.

The 6th Congressional District takes in parts of Phoenix as well as Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. The two congressmen were drawn into the same district after the once-a-decade job of redrawing the boundaries was completed.

Both men are freshman in the Congress and carry big bank accounts into the primary. Because the district leans heavily toward Republicans, it’s expected the winner of the primary will cruise to victory in the November general election.