The Republican Party has released a draft of "A Pledge to America," (text here) which is intended to be like 1994's Contract for America. Here is the part about immigration:
• Establish Operational Control of the Border: We must take action to secure our borders, and that action starts with enforcing our laws. We will ensure that the Border Patrol has the tools and authorities to establish operational control at the border and prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from interfering with Border Patrol enforcement activities on federal lands.
• Work with State and Local Officials to Enforce Our Immigration Laws: The problem of illegal immigration and Mexican drug cartels engaged in an increasingly violent conflict means we need all hands on deck to address this challenge. We will reaffirm the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of all federal immigration laws.
• Strengthen Visa Security: To stop terrorists like Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber, we will require the Department of Homeland Security to review all visa applications at high-risk consular posts and prevent aliens from attempting to avoid deportation after having their visas revoked.
In practice, it is fair to say that this will entail larger government, more spending, and more judicial activism:
First, there will be no immigration reform. Of course, this is not surprising.
Second, the reference to cabinet members means that there will be no environmental or--ironically--private ownership questions taken into consideration for a greater government role in enforcement.
Third, the patchwork of state and local laws will expand governments' spending and presence, thus almost certainly creating a situation that is even more confusing and contentious. That will mean more court rulings and ultimately the Supreme Court will help make the law.
Fourth, there would be an increase--perhaps drastic--of spending on the Border Patrol.
Fifth, since the system is already overloaded, there will be a drastic increase of spending and government presence to try and find every person who has overstayed a visa. Immigration reform would greatly reduce that load, but see number one.