Addressing a gathering of Hispanics last week, President Bush declared: "There are those here in Washington who say, 'Why don't we just find the folks and send them home.' That ain't gonna work."
Well, deportation certainly "ain't gonna work" if the chief law enforcement officer of the United States refuses to enforce the law, as Bush has refused for five years.
But as is his custom, President Bush is attacking a straw man. Few in this debate call for creation of a national police to begin Palmer Raid roundups of nannies. The agreed-upon strategy for dealing with this crisis of Bush's creation is, in a word, attrition.
The crucial steps are these. Build a fence along the 2,000-mile border to stop the flood. End welfare benefits to illegal aliens, except emergency medical treatment. Vigorously prosecute employers who hire illegals. Cease granting automatic citizenship to "anchor babies" of illegals who sneak across the border to have them. Take care of mother and child, then put them on a bus back home.
Turn off the magnets, and the illegals will not come. Cut off the benefits, and they will not stay. In five years, the crisis will be over.
As this is what America wants, the Bush-Kennedy bill that came out of the Senate -- providing amnesty to almost all the 12 million to 20 million illegals here and a blanket pardon for the scofflaw businesses that have hired them -- is dead. It simply cannot pass the House.
The report by Heritage Foundation expert Robert Rector, who estimated the Senate bill could mean 66 million more immigrants in the next 20 years, delivered the coup de grace.
But because the Senate bill cannot pass the House does not mean Bush, the ethnic lobbies and corporate America have given up.
Which brings us to the Pence plan, named for the conservative congressman from Indiana who heads the House Republican Conference and was the 2005 Man of the Year to the conservative Human Events weekly.
In "The Godfather," Don Corleone warns his son Michael that, after he dies, someone inside the family will come to Michael with an offer of peace from the Barzinis, who murdered Michael's brother. Whoever brings you the offer, Don Corleone warns his son, will have betrayed you. Tessio, lifetime friend and high-ranking captain of the Corleones, comes to Michael with Barzini's offer. A mistake.
Rep. Mike Pence appears to have accepted the Tessio role in the great immigration battle of 2006.