Here’s my hands-down favorite story of the day. During the debate last night, Mitt Romney offered up the idea of “self-deportation”, which sounds like something you shouldn’t do because you’ll go blind, but which actually just describes the idea of making life completely miserable for immigrants so they’ll give up on America and go home. The Alabama immigration law, with its deputizing of practically everyone who comes into contact with an undocumented immigrant as a state law enforcement officer, is an example of self-deportation. Most of the ways to encourage self-deportation would be completely inhumane, like cutting off water service to homes inhabited by the undocumented. And needless to say, you can very easily catch up US citizens in this net, and deprive them of liberty along these lines.

This is the right-wing’s answer to the question of how you deport 11 million unauthorized immigrants: You don’t. You force them to “deport themselves.” Although immigration reform advocates would prefer a solution that involves a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants already here, Romney and his top immigration advisers believe they can remove millions of people through heavy-handed enforcement that makes life for unauthorized immigrants intolerable. This approach is notable for its complete lack of discretion and flexibility. Unauthorized immigrant parents with citizen children who need to go to school? Americans who are married to an undocumented immigrant who needs medical treatment? “Self-deportation” hits them all with the same mailed fist.

One group has boldly stepped forward to congratulate Romney on his stance. As Dave Weigel reports, they call themselves Patriots for Self-Deportation:

The grassroots organization Patriots for Self-Deportation, formed last year in response to legislative inaction on the issue of birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants (also known as the “anchor baby” problem), announced today the launch of their website, The group describes as a resource for patriotic Americans who wish to set an example of responsible citizenship by proving their own rights to remain in this great nation.

The group hopes the website and issue benefits from Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s endorsement of self-deportation as a solution to the problem of illegal immigration, according to spokesman Stephen Winters.

Here’s the site. And here are their core principles:

1) America belongs to REAL Americans.
2) Illegals and their anchor babies are here ILLEGALLY.
3) US citizenship is for those who can show PROOF their original ancestors were here legally.
4) All illegals and descendants of illegals are here ILLEGALLY and must be DEPORTED at once.
If you can’t prove you belong here, REPATRIATE!

This is a parody, if you haven’t guessed. The video at the site comes from an American whose family is Polish, and who cannot prove that they didn’t sneak into the country. Therefore, he’s doing the patriotic thing and self-deporting. With this standard, the country would get cleaned out of “illegals” in no time, and all of the sons and daughters of the American Revolution left – or perhaps just Native Americans, I’m not sure where they draw the line – would have a few hundred acres of land to themselves. The country would fall into serious decline, but hey, at least we’d all be legal.

Their slogan is “Stopping illegal immigration starts with you.” I think there’s a lesson in there for all of us.