“Illegal immigration” is obviously a problem in any number of ways. But part of what that means is that there are different ways to construe what exactly the problem is. The trajectory of policy since the collapse of immigration reform legislation in 2007 has been to construe it as a problem of insufficient deportations. Another—better—way would be to construe it as a shortfall of legal avenues for people to come to the United States to do legal work in exchange for money. And as Ruy Teixeira argues the evidence suggests fairly widespread support for this reading:
Undocumented workers are easy for opportunistic politicians to attack and demonize since they’re violating the law, and people don’t like that. But by the same token, politicians who want to resolve US-Mexico migration in a humane way continue to have ample space to craft a solution oriented around the idea that people that people who want to work in the United States should be permitted to do so legally.