Despite record deportations, despite spending more on border enforcement than all other federal law enforcement efforts combined, despite record low numbers of illegal entries and despite a drop in the illegally present immigrant population of over a million, Senator Jon Cornyn, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, repeated yesterday the old GOP argument that we should not legalize the status of anyone until we can prove the borders are "secure." That's nice. It's the perfect excuse not to actually do anything since even all of the results of the beefed up enforcement efforts over the last few decades are not enough.
We know how to fix the problem of illegal immigration. Strong enforcement, punish people here illegally, but create a path for the non-criminals to legalize their status and then enact a real guest worker program that addresses what draws people to the US - jobs. That last part is what Congress torpedoed in 1986 and promised to deal with later. Only they didn't and we found ourselves back in the same place we were in 1986 with 27 years of accumulated illegal immigration.
If we had a workable program allowing employers to bring in needed workers over the last three decades, chances are that the number of people who we count in the ranks of the illegal would be a lot lower. The workers are coming anyway. We would be much better served as a country if we actually recognized it and regulated it rather than tried to eliminate it.