Border protection is one of those things that is always talked about but never done. Namely because it is important, but not quite the most important thing out there. So it is often brought up in campaigns and during elections cycles and is often considered "important" by the american people in polls, however, after the elections, it gets tossed on the back burner because the economy and foreign wars always take priority.
But look at what poor border protection leads to - tens of millions of undocumented aliens, massive amounts of drugs and violent crimes (which spread to citizens), a massive drain on our healthcare system, and biggest leech on government services (unemployment, welfare, whatever they can get). This is not to say, of course, that every single illegal alien is like this as many are not, however, a much greater percentage of them are compared to citizens or even legal aliens.
So what do we need to do? We could open the borders 100% and look the other way, worked great for the Native Americans when the Europeans came to play. It is the government's duty to protect the people, and to make sure that its protection and services are going to its people. That means that it needs to know who is here and what their status is, to minimize abuse of the system. That means preventing people from coming illegally. Now there is the "how to" for that.
So how do you do that? Well, you break it down like every problem and look at it the pros and cons for each decision. And how different actions can effect the likely hood for someone to try a particular option.
the 3 options are...
1) try to enter the country legally (the ideal option for us)
2) try to enter the country illegally
3) stay home and don't enter the USA
Now, we're gonna use Mexico as an example, only because we get most of our illegals from across that border.
Our biggest issue with getting people to come legally is the time it takes to get through legally compared to the time that it takes to get through illegally (3 months at the fastest, and that is if everything goes well and with a lot of luck). This massive difference (3 months best, 6 months normally, compared to just a few days through the illegal route) pushes people to chose the illegal method to get here. By streamlining the system, and allowing more people to come here, we can make the time required to get a green card more efficient and allow more people to chose the legal option.
A wall and tighter border security can still be erected (along side the streamline process) to further push people to option 1, however, our reasoning for this must be made clear. A wall and tighter border security is not going to do much (probably do some, but only a little) on the actual amount of illegal immigration, but it will do great for the drug trafficking and illegals coming over to join gangs and crime. But the reason it won't stop it is because about half of all illegals aren't running across the borders in the dead of night. They are those that come on a temp visa and when they are suppose to go home, they don't. Of the three ways to illegally get into the country (running, overstaying, and visa fraud) this is the most popular way. So what do we do about this? Well, the only real way to fight that is to have a better system for tracking them and ensuring that they are going home at the end of their visa agreements.
I'd personally love to see a temp-to-citizenship program move to our main form of legal entry. You want to come be a citizen, you have to work for a year or two (fine details can be worked out later) for a specific industry or employer, then at the end or your term you are a citizen with full rights. Now here is the part I may get the most criticism from...transition visa workers would not be covered under the US minimum wage, they would have their own separate minimum wage. Since they are choosing to come to the US, because they like this country more then their old one (not many people come here because they don't like it here), they should be offered a wage that is somewhere between what they could expect to make here and in their old country, regardless of where that sits compared to minimum wage.
Lets say we are referring to a Mexican wanting to come to the states and is doing the transition visa through farming. In the USA, as a farm hand, they could expect to make minimum wage (or maybe a little better if the pay is on a piece rate and they are really good), but in Mexico, most farm hands only make about $5 USD a day (their minimum wage is $4.25 - 4.50 USD a day), so paying them about $20 - 25 USD a day would be far better then them staying and doing that work in mexico, and then also provides them with room to grow when they come out of the transition visa program. Now $20 a day is not going to provide food and housing here, so it would be the sponsoring's employer's responsibility to ensure that the transition employees had food and living provided (since the employer doesn't have to provide minimum wage and so saves a bunch of money, this isn't all that much to ask for) that is at least above the standard of the nation of origin (of course, these temp homes are re-usable by the employer so while there is an upfront cost, they don't have to keep spending money on them).
Now this, of course, would look different in other cases, since not everyone from everywhere is going to be working a farm in a position in under-minimum wage jobs. Sometimes, we may get doctors from Turkey that want to come here. Now, like with the farm hand from Mexico, a doctor here can expect to make more then one in Turkey, and so when he comes here, for that year he will still be allowed to make somewhere in between those pay rates. However, in his case, if that middle pay range is still at a high enough level to successfully live on his own, then the employer is not required to provide housing. This can work for almost any industry (manufacturing, customer service, labour jobs).
These different options can greatly reduce our issues with the borders, which in turn will cut crime, drugs, and wasted money (money providing government services and money fighting crime and drug abuse), and safer cities and neighborhoods for communities.