House Speaker John Boehner today took a direct assault at the president’s immigration announcement as he questioned the constitutionality of his decision to stop deporting and begin granting work permits to hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants and he surmised that President Obama made the announcement because the president “can’t talk about his economic policies.”

“It’s the president himself who said the last couple of years that he couldn’t do this and so the question remains whether he’s violating the Constitution,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “But let’s go back to what’s really going on here: The president can’t talk about his economic policies, can’t talk about the number one issue on the minds of Americans because his policies have failed. They’ve made things worse, and so he’s turned to the politics of envy and division, which I don’t think the American people are going to accept.”

A group of 20 Republican senators led by Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to President Obama late Tuesday questioning the legality of his recent directive to stop deporting illegal immigrants who come to the country at a young age.

“Not only do we question your legal authority to unilaterally act in this regard, we are frustrated that you have intentionally bypassed Congress and the American people,” the letter read in part. “As president you swore to uphold and defend the constitution and enforce laws. Your recently announced directive runs counter to that responsibility.”

The letter requests documents from President Obama proving that he sought legal counsel to ensure that he had the right to issue the immigration directive.

Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) on Monday proposed legislation that would block enforcement of President Obama’s new policy of letting certain illegal immigrants request temporary relief from deportation.

Schweikert’s bill would specifically prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from allowing that relief, which Obama described on Friday as an option for up to 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States illegally at a young age. Schweikert said his bill would prevent Obama from “dictating” immigration law from the White House.

“Last week, the president decided to grant amnesty and hand out work permits to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, while over 23 million Americans remain unemployed and the civilian participation rate is at a 30-year low,” he said Monday. “This amounts to an abdication of duty to the American people who are struggling in this economy.

President Obama made waves last week by announcing significant changes to the government’s stance on the deportation of certain illegal immigrants. Most analysts portrayed the decision as a smart move to shore up Obama’s flagging standing with Latino voters.

I’m far less certain

While the Latino vote is frequently portrayed as a critical voting bloc, in truth it is concentrated in only a few swing states with just a handful of electoral votes…

Fifteen electoral votes could still be crucial in a close election. But here’s the rub: The analyses that focus only on the potential effect among Latino voters miss half of the equation: The potential effect among white voters…

Finally, I think it’s important to remember that Latino voters’ views on immigration aren’t uniform, and that just as there’s a ceiling on the Republican share of this vote, there’s probably something of a floor.

Fox News’ Carl Cameron, sensing that evasion, asked why the presumptive Republican nominee was fine saying he’d repeal Obamacare but unwilling to say as much about this quasi-Executive Order.

“Well, when we talk about illegal immigration I think I want to start by saying we need to secure the border, we’ve got to have an employment verification system, and then with regards to these children who came here brought in by their parents who came in here illegally, how we deal with them is something I think that deserves a long term solution and I don’t think we go jumping from one solution to the other,” Romney replied. “The president I think made a mistake by putting out there what he called a stop-gap measure; I think that’s not the right way to go. I’m not going to be looking for stop gap-measures; I’m going to be looking for a permanent or a long-term solution that’s something I will start on day one. Actually, as soon as I get elected hopefully, I will start working on this issue and hopefully be ready to go immediately.”

Romney may, indeed, be more interested in crafting broader immigration reform — though his promise to veto the DREAM Act suggests he’s far more interested in border enforcement than reform. He may find the idea of a stopgap measure bad politics and bad policy. But the idea that he will somehow craft legislation and get it ready to be implemented upon him taking office Jan. 20, is truly wishful thinking considering how hard it proved to pass during the latter Bush years and early Obama years.

I often feel as if I live in two worlds. I get angry when I hear stories of couples from wealthy families who come to Miami from overseas in the last weeks of a pregnancy, deliver their children at Jackson Memorial so their babies are born American citizens, and then leave the country and stick the American public with their hospital bills. I appreciate the frustration people have when they feel their country is being overwhelmed by illegal immigration.

On the other hand, when I hear some people accuse immigrants of destroying the American economy and culture and stealing jobs from American citizens, it stirs my anger, too. I can’t stand to hear immigrants described in terms more appropriate to a plague of locusts than human beings. And although I believe they are a small minority, I begin to wonder if some of the people who speak so disparagingly about immigrants would be just as worked up if most of them were coming from Canada.

I understand it is a difficult issue. It’s a law-and-order issue. But it’s also an issue about human dignity and common decency. And when we lose sight of either aspect of the issue, we harm ourselves as well as the people who wish to live here. Many people who come here illegally are doing exactly what we would do if we lived in a country where we couldn’t feed our families. If my kids went to sleep hungry every night and my country didn’t give me an opportunity to feed them, there isn’t a law, no matter how restrictive, that would prevent me from coming here. We should debate our differences on immigration with regard to all the issues that deserve our respect and attention.