The WaPo's take on the president's immigration speech reads far too much like an Onion article than it should.
"Congress can pass a comprehensive bill, and I can sign it into law this year," Bush said, without offering a detailed proposal.
I could sign it this year. Or, you know, I couldn't. Whatever. Ooh, pretzels!
Seriously, Bush dished out some awful thin gruel. When the Democrats took Congress, one line of thinking was that Bush would finally stop tussling with the immigration hawks in the GOP caucus and cut a deal with the opposition, who generally saw his way on the issue. Instead he's firming up the base with stuff like this.
Bush appears poised to embrace a more punitive overhaul plan than he has talked about in the past. Under the proposal, written with GOP senators, undocumented workers could apply for three-year work visas, renewable at a cost of $3,500 each time. To become legal permanent residents, they would have to return to their home countries, apply for reentry at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and pay a $10,000 fine.
This is the "touchback" idea, and it's fantastically unconvincing. It's basically a sop that immigration hawks* and open-borders wets alike use to affirm that, oh no, their bill isn't like those other immigration bills. It's a dodge, basically; a tough-sounding measure that delays either mass deportation or mass amnesty.
*referring to Pence, not Krikorian.