The brilliant idea was not Mitt Romney's.
But ever since he introduced it as a viable solution to the country's broken immigration system, he's been getting all the credit.
Long before the Republican front-runner made it a tenet of his immigration policy, Daniel D. Portado, founder of Hispanics Against Liberal Takeover (HALTO), a "militant, self-deportation movement encouraging all minorities to leave the United States" was championing the cause in the early 1990s following the passage of anti-immigrant Prop.187 in California -- on the radio, to talking heads, even California's Governor Wilson adopted self-deportation as a solution.
Only it was a joke.
In an interview from 1996 with This American Life radio host Ira Glass, Daniel D. Portado is asked why he is still in California if his mission is to self-deport.
He replies, "Well, I am here to help everyone get out. I hope to look forward to the day where I will stand at the border and say, will the last Mexican out of California please turn out the lights? That will be me."