I’m sitting here stewing over the fact that Bush is going to try to ram an immigration bill down our throats, and stewing over the fact that the Wall Street Journal thinks the GOP has gone “nativist” for not supporting the bill, and then it hits me what’s really going on here.

A bunch of mostly white men in Washington, D.C. with advanced degrees are in a political struggle to force 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants to take a standardized test with a No. 2 pencil. But did anyone ask these immigrants if they want to be legalized? How do we know they all want to become U.S. citizens? We just assume they want to be quizzed on obscure facts from American history and learn a new language.

Tell you what — I’ll go ahead and support the president’s bill under the following condition. There’s only one.

Task the California Teachers Association, the largest teachers union outside the National Education Association, with organizing credentialed, tenured teachers (they must be tenured to receive my support) to instruct the millions of illegal immigrants on obscure facts from American history and English language skills necessary to pass the citizenship test.

First, the tenure system is the single biggest impediment to quality education that exists in America. Give a 25-year-old a teaching job, and if she makes it through the first two years without being shot or having a nervous breakdown, she gets a job for life. By age 29 she is irretrievably apathetic. But if this system is good enough for children of existing U.S. citizens who attend public schools, it’s good enough for Aspiring Citizens. (The nativists refer to them as illegals.)

So take a couple hundred of these disillusioned teachers, and have them instruct classrooms full of non-citizens (kind of like the Los Angeles public school system) about U.S. history and English. Chances are, the teachers will at some point go on strike to demand more pay and more expensive retirement benefits, thereby bringing the whole legalization process to a grinding halt.

But if it doesn’t, you can always count on the Latino Caucus to step in and proclaim that English immersion is racist and demand that a racially diverse task force be appointed to develop a comprehensive bilingual program to help these Aspiring Citizens learn English. This process should take about five years and two lawsuits.

Finally, if the teachers haven’t gone on strike and the Latino Caucus hasn’t succeeded in their race-baiting, there’s always the standardized test, which most of the “students” will fail the first few times (kind of like the Los Angeles public school system). Of course, after many 60-second human-interest stories aired on the local evening news, the Instructor of Public Education (who is up for re-election and is counting on the Latino vote to carry him across the finish line) will hold a press conference and proclaim that the failing citizenship students should be allowed to graduate anyway so that they don’t feel badly about themselves. The last thing we need is 12-20 million more people in America with low self-esteem. It’s a well documented fact (As Seen on TV) that the pharmaceutical industry in this country cannot keep up with demand if we suddenly have 12-20 million more depressed people whose minds keep wandering and who just can’t get out of bed in the morning.

Now, these new citizens won’t have learned a thing about U.S. history and still won’t be able to communicate effectively on the job in English. But they will have had to suffer the bureaucracy of The System. And anyone who wants to be part of The System should be baptized into The System. Forget the $5,000 fines. I can think of nothing more punitive than suffering The System.