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'Self-Deportation' Is A Joke

Mitt Romney's immigration policy may not be a joke, but the name he's given it is. The much-mocked term "self-deportation" was not invented by harsh immigration lawmaker--and Mitt Romney backer--Kris Kobach but instead originated in a 1990s satirical ad responding to a California ballot initiative that attempted to ban illegal immigrants from using public schools and hospitals. Sort of like early Stephen Colberts, a couple of Mexican-American comedians funded a group called "Hispanics Against Liberal Takeover" and made mock news releases and radio ads wherein they pretended to be conservative activists promoting the law. This American Life recalls interviewing HALTO founder Daniel D. Portado--a Mexican-American--back in 1996 about the idea of self-deportation. Portado explained in jest, "We feel that the immigrants are taking too many jobs, are bringing down the quality of life. They're not allowing our young American teenagers the character-building experiences of picking fruit and cleaning hotel beds." Lately, Portado has been using his twitter feed to try to remind America that "self-deportation" was his idea, and it was not a serious one.

February 1, 2012 1:12 PM