Shift in immigration policy sparks renewed debate

Posted: Aug 19, 2011 9:49 PM PDT Updated: Aug 19, 2011 9:58 PM PDT

By Dan Marries

Change in immigration policy will allow some illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S.

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - A dramatic shift in immigration policy is stirring a political hornet's nest.

On Friday, the Obama Administration announced a plan that would allow hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to stay in the United States. Opponents say it's nothing more than a backdoor to amnesty.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wasted no time in blasting the announcement.

"We're a country of laws, where we believe in the rule of law."

Under the policy change, some 300,000 deportation cases will be heard on a case-by-case basis. Those who have committed crimes will be deported and those who haven't will be able to apply for a work visa and stay in the U.S.

"The bottom line is that they are illegal aliens entering our country and we simply can not sustain that kind of action," Brewer said. "I don't believe the American people will support it."

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva backs the president.

"You're talking about kids who have played by the rules, done well in school, never got in trouble"

Grijalva says the change would affect those brought here by illegal immigrant parents, perhaps decades ago, who are now college graduates and even U.S. military veterans and now face deportation.

"If you look at these kids they're the ones we have asked and demanded of them that they do what the American dreams asks of you, work hard and it will pay off, they've done it. I don't think they take away, I think they add."

Brewer says the president is going back on his own words.

In July, Obama addressed the Council of La Raza saying he couldn't change immigration policy without the approval of Congress.

"I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is tempting but that's not how our system works, that's not how our democracy functions, that's not how our constitution was written."