My initial thoughts is for a 3-step process to be followed (which *must* be done in this order, and complete one before starting the next). Caveat: I haven't studied the various minute details for booby-traps. I'm sure they are there.
1. Secure the border. Really.
- We cannot expect to address the myriad of immigration issues until we stop the traffic flow. This will not be cheap or easy, but it must be done. To do otherwise is like looking for who has the best deal on new kitchen appliances while your house is burning to the ground. No, it won't be easy. Whatever it takes - up to and including armed response using deadly force (sorry, but that's the way it is) - Whatever it takes. And the entire border, not just that one to the south: *all* of them. Purpose: security for the citizens of this country.
2. Fix the immigration process itself.
- Establish monthly or yearly limits if deemed necessary. Or not. Require background checks or passing a language comprehension test or whatever. But make the process reasonable and as FAST / painless as humanly possible. Then, (re)establish appropriate organizations in various countries to handle it (isn't that a function of our embassy anyway?) Purpose: to reduce or eliminate reasons to bypass the system.
3. When an 'illegal' is found, they go back to square one... Immediately.
- Grab them, deport them back to their country of origin, and make them go through the (new, better, faster) process. Protect any property they may have acquired while they are gone, if necessary. No free rides, no special treatment, no advantages for those who may already here illegally, regardless of the details... To do otherwise rewards flaunting the law and is a disadvantage to those who have already accepted the idea they must follow the rules. Do it out of respect for the law, if for no other reason. If we are to present ourselves as a country of equals, spreading MORE 'equality' around is always a good idea. Purpose: All applicants must go through the process just like everyone else.
Any country is justified in taking whatever steps are necessary to protect, and defend its borders. It is a legitimate purpose for government: and if it can't do that, why trust it with anything else? Further, the good ol' U. S. of A. was founded upon - among other things - a principle called 'equal under the law'. There can be no justification for 'some are more equal than others' (see Orwell). Period. Otherwise, you shatter the very foundation which makes this country the destination for the world...
Yes, I realize this an overly simplified task list. There are certain to be difficulties in implementation. They are certainly easier to say than to do; but that doesn't diminish their critical nature or their importance or the high priority they deserve. There are a lot of complicating details and 'special situations'; but these are the high-level objectives . There are a bunch of subsequent tasks and challenges too - but those, be definition, are less important details (most of which will be bureaucratic in nature).
But, when I look at the problem as a whole, I see a fairly straight-forward sequence of events that must occur: Step 1, then step 2, then step 3. Simple.
What am I missing?