People often look at the concept of illegal immigration as something to be solved. It’s treated like a question that has a definitive answer or a complex formula that has an elegant solution somewhere just waiting to be uncovered.
This is a sort of fallacy that many humans fall into.
Really, there is no single thing that can be done to completely end illegal immigration and there is no set of actions that can be taken to solve the problem.
One might argue that the best way to solve the problem of illegal immigration is to change one’s perception of it.
Illegal immigration is a construct of the foreign relations of governments and therefore is a problem that societies create for themselves. If that is true, then by changing how one defines illegal immigration or by eradicating the concept altogether, it can be solved.
The problem with this simple solution is that there is a reasonable basis and need for the concept of illegal immigration. States need to regulate who can come into their countries and when for the safety of their peoples. So, with this in mind, there are two general schools of thought that address the solution of illegal immigration: Reform and enforcement.
While both can be logically considered reform, when people say “immigration reform” in the United States, they are probably talking about the more liberal side of the argument. Specifically, redesigning the immigration system to make it easier for foreign nationals to get legal status, thereby making it more unlikely for them to become illegal at any point of their stay in the U.S.
On the more conservative side of the spectrum is enforcement. This set of beliefs considers the current laws in the United States to be sufficient for solving immigration issues and the only reason why there is a problem is that there aren’t enough people in government working to enforce the current laws. Proponents of this school believe that greater numbers of border guards and deportation proceedings are necessary to solve the problem of illegal immigration.
Regardless of what school may be right or wrong, no real change can be affected until Congress makes a decision. Solving illegal immigration may be a long way off, but the U.S. is on the path before the fork.