Most of the rhetoric in the debate is flawed, and designed to mislead. For example, a common phrase is that "Mexicans do the jobs Americans refuse to do," implying that Mexicans are lesser creatures than Americans, and that they will perform tasks too loathsome for Americans to undertake. Thing is, Americans used to do the jobs in question. Mowing lawns? Picking crops? Mopping floors? Americans did all of these things, until corporations realized they could hire immigrants and pay them half of what they paid Americans, and not worry about how not only hiring undocumented immigrants is illegal, but so is paying them well under the minimum wage. Until Cesar Chavez organized immigrant labor unions, none of the workers could report their bosses to the government for underpaying their workers, unsafe working conditions, etc. because they faced immediate deportation. To a large extent this is still the case. So corporations have increased profit margins on a massive scale since the 1970s by continually hiring cheap, illegal labor and neglecting safety codes.
So how do you solve the immigration problem? Four words: Go after the corporations. The U.S. government must begin earnestly investigating companies that hire illegal immigrants and convincing them that the fines they face are much higher than the money they save by hiring immigrants. When the incentive to hire labor illegally no longer exists, the practice will fade from existence. Immigrants will be forced to seek naturalization or documented worker status simply because they cannot continue working without it. There will be no economic benefit to crossing the border illegally, as all the jobs will have dried up.
Unfortunately, debate over the immigration issue has been largely futile, due to widely divergent conceptions over what the issue is, and what's causing it. A large number of anti-immigrant groups, most notably the "Minutemen" vigilantes, believe that those coming across the border aren't immigrants looking for employment, but foreign nationals invading America. Mexico is at war with the United States, and nothing anyone says about economics will change that: the only solution is to build a giant wall to defend the border, and execute (yes, they want to EXECUTE) any illegals who are caught entering America or found within its borders. So unless someone can convince these people that the corporations are aiding and abbetting the terrorist invading army, the crazies will continue to sit at the border with their binoculars, fighting the good fight to keep America safe from the invading
In other news, I'm done with finals. Yay!