USA Today, August 13, 2015
Border enforcement isn't just about the Mexican border.
The frontier with our southern neighbor really is better controlled than it used to be, though that's not saying much, considering how laughably inadequate enforcement was in the past.
But it's immigration security overall that we need to worry about, both at the border and the interior. Better border fencing is indeed necessary, but our efforts in non-border areas haven't even risen yet to the level of "laughably inadequate." Until they're addressed, we shouldn't even be discussing what to do about illegal aliens already here.
The three biggest weaknesses are worksite enforcement, visa tracking, and state and local partnerships with federal authorities.
Weakening the magnet of jobs is key to deterring illegal immigration. The online E-Verify system enables employers to check whether new hires are telling the truth about who they are — but it's only voluntary. Only by making E-Verify a universal part of the hiring process can we even begin to claim to be serious about enforcement.
People who come here legally on visitor visas but never leave are now the main source of new illegal immigration, accounting for nearly 60% of the 1,000 new illegal aliens a day settling here. We do a better job of checking people in as they arrive, but we don't track departures. That means we don't know which visa holders have remained illegally — despite the fact that Congress has mandated such a visa-tracking system eight times since 1996.
It should go without saying that any illegal alien arrested for local crimes should be deported. Yet the Obama administration has dismantled the infrastructure for cooperation between the feds and local law enforcement. Rebuilding these relationships, and protecting cities from predatory lawsuits by anti-borders groups such as the ACLU, is imperative.
Politicians who want legalization of the illegals now, while promising to get around to improving enforcement in the future, are offering the same bad deal as the infamous 1986 amnesty. "Enforcement first" is the only acceptable approach.