This idea is way outside of the box, but I believe one worth considering. I will likely cover additional, more realistic ideas in a future diary shortly.
The Republican base, including myself, would really like to see illegals deported. They committed a crime. An injustice to our legal system and to those waiting in line to join our national legitimately. Now, I would certainly support the a visa-for-all concept if the alternative is citizenship-for-all. But I don't believe that would permanently stop the dam of potential Democratic voters from bursting in the future.
Most serious Republicans agree it would not be possible in this day and age to implement another Operation Wetback. First of all, it would be death politically, and not just among Hispanic voters. Secondly, no more than a handful of politicians would have the guts to do it. Thirdly, it is actually kind of worrisome to establish a "papers please" doctrine, even if for a short time.
Now, no Democrat would go along with what I am about to propose. I seriously doubt most Republicans would either, for various reasons, but I am going to throw it out there anyway. While it would be demonized by liberals as xenophobic, racist, and hateful, it is far more compassionate (and can be sold that way) than a "papers please approach." A compromise, if you will.
Here is the general concept outline:
We would first build an impenetrable fence along the entire Mexican border, giving the U.S. full control over immigration in that region.
Next, we would offer illegals X-amount of money per family to be sent back to their home country. Keep in mind they don't make very much here as it is. Usually they work far below minimum wage. This would resemble a gun buy-back program. If they do not comply and are caught here, they would face stiff punishment if caught. To catch those remaining, we would offer a reward for successful reports with the stipulation that false claims would result in a fine greater than the reward.
The catch is that this would cost a lot of money. If the number magic number $10,000 per family and 10 million illegal families accepted the offer, that would be a one time expense of $100 billion. And that doesn't factor in transportation costs. That is still less than the bank bailouts, believe it or not. Instead of adding it on top of current spending though, there is definitely plenty within the federal budget we could cut to offset the cost.
To conclude, I don't expect this idea to gain traction, but I would like to see lawmakers discuss it at least.