I just read the transcript of Obama's immigration speech this morning. Instead of hashing that out, I had an idea. Tell me what you think.
How about instead of only focusing on adding more border control agents, why don't we add more border welcomers. Have lots of Ellis Island types of border crossings where the non-criminal family just aspiring for a better future can pass through legally without having to wait years and years.
If the process of getting legal status were more streamlined and easier, the motivation for the "good type" of immigrant to cross illegally would be gone.
You could come over, fill out a bunch of papers that document who you are, finger print, and other identifying information, and then get a provisional legal crossing, while the rest of the red tape gets sorted out. If you fail to comply with the entire process, including fees, learning English, Constitution test, etc., which could take however long needed to get through the bureaucracy, you are deported, and you could be found b/c your whereabouts were documented when you came in.
The criminal side would have to be dealt with too, but the key is to deal humanely for the people coming to America for the right reasons.