I grant that the details involved in any issue of national scope are always complex, but a solution to the “illegal immigration problem” seems straightforward. While all of our borders are “leaky” the concerns of most people are with regard to our southern border. So let us start by asking and answering a few questions:
Question: Why people are risking life and limb and are spending large amounts of money on suspect guides to traverse that border? The answer is simple: jobs. If there were no jobs available, they would not come, certainly not in any great numbers.
Question: How do other countries handle this same issue? Answer: Other countries require proof of citizenship or “guest worker” status (aka a “green card”) to secure employment.
Question: Since the simple policy of requiring status to secure legal work works so well in other countries, why do we not do the same? Answer: Ah, here is the nexus of the problem. Certain employers like having a pool of inexpensive workers who basically cannot complain to the authorities when they are taken advantage of. There is, therefore, substantial opposition of “proof of status” for employment. Much of it centers on having a federal database in order to verify status, a safeguard against forgery, but that is a smokescreen. Evoking fears of 1984-esque government in this issue is stupid at best. It is the databases we would not know about that we might fear.
There is a need for temporary workers in this country. There are jobs that Americans will not do. One of them is picking crops (most of them, anyway). There seem to be crops that are not susceptible to motorized picking (like we do with wheat, corn, almonds, etc.) or that we do not like what motorized picking does to them (to make things acceptable for motorized picking the produce has to be hardened, so strawberries, peaches, and other soft fruits either have to be picked when they are far from ripe and still hard or have to be genetically modified to be harder when ripe). So, hand labor will be involved in food production for the foreseeable future. Americans will not do this work, certainly not for the wages offered. So there is a need for a “guest worker” program. When I was young, there was the Bracero Program which allowed Mexican citizens to work temporarily in the U.S. It was ended in 1964 because of criticism that we were exploiting Mexican workers and depriving American workers of jobs. Since it is clear now that Americans do not want such jobs and that Mexican workers are being exploited anyway, could not such a program be re-instated with additional safeguards for the workers? How hard could it be?
As to proof of legal status, employers either have to bear the brunt of the law for hiring undocumented workers or they have to accept reasonable procedures to establish such status before hiring. Accessing a federal database for each worker hired is exactly how difficult, as it can be done from a smart phone or tablet if web-based as it surely will be?
Apparently, our politicians would rather have the issue be “open” than have it be settled. Once again, politics triumphs over practicality and the caliber of our politicians is so low, little chance of legislative solution can be seen.
So, we do not have an immigration problem, we have a political problem. So, we must ask ourselves, which political party has a stated desire to make our political system less functional and has acted as such? Answer that question and you will have arrived at the source of the problem, the real source of the problem.
Oh, if you need a solution to the “problem” of all of the “illegals” already in the country, solve the ongoing problem as above … and then wait 50-75 years. All of the current illegals will be dead and no longer a problem. During that time, they will pay taxes but not be able to vote, etc. If they cannot find work, they may just leave on their own. Or, we could just accept them as being “legal residents” by giving them a green card, the more humane thing to do.