The one useful contribution Tom Tancredo has made to the2008 presidential race was when he accused the other GOP candidates of “tryingto out-Tancredo Tancredo.” He was right. So far, his opponents have failed tomatch the alarmist, borderline socially unacceptable anti-immigrant rhetoricthe Coloradocongressman has spouted. But they come close.

Mike Huckabee’s new immigrationplan , unveiled today, is a case in point. Titled the “Secure America Plan,”its bullet points include “Build the fence,” “Increase border patrol,” and”Prevent amnesty,” with this little sub-bullet:

“Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day windowto register with the Citizenship and Immigration Services and leave thecountry. Those who register and return to their home country will face nopenalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return homewill be, when caught, barred from future reentry for a period of 10 years.”

What happened to the Huckabee-approved “pathway tocitizenship”? Here’s what he said in an inteview last year: “To think that we’re going to go lock up 12 million people or evenround them up and drive them to the border and let them go might make a greatpolitical speech but it’s not going to happen.”

Why the switch from “pathway to citizenship” todeport-and-blockade? Chalk it up to the tuition breaks flap. In the past fewweeks, Huckabee has defended an Arkansasprogram that would have reduced tuition for the children of illegal immigrants.He claims he doesn’t want to punish children for their parents’ crimes—or, ashe says, ” sins .”But his opponents, and Romney in particular, have notrouble grilling his cakes over it.

So here comes Huckabee the hawk. Look forward to seeing alittle less compassion and a little more conservatism on this issue in thecoming weeks.

Still waiting for comment from Huck’s campaign, will post an update when it comes in.