Just to show that I don’t only grouse and that sometimes I have a proposals for solutions that I think would work and might even appease most parties in a compromise, here’s an idea.
Re: border security…use drones and rapid deployment Border Patrol teams in helicopters. I’m not talking military drones that shoot Hellfire missiles. I mean ones you stick GoPro cameras on. We have the tech to fly a plane around the world, without landing, entirely on solar power. Surely, we can make as many solar-powered surveillance drones as would be needed to monitor every last inch of the un-walled border (places like the Rio Grande basin, for instance, where flash floods are likely to wash walls away anyway). Analysts on the ground would monitor the video feeds. See vehicles (air/water/ground, whatever) or foot traffic crossing a stretch of Mexican soil where that’s not anticipated? Dispatch a few choppers loaded with full platoons worth of BP agents. Since it’s a humanitarian crisis in Mexico before they even get here, surely Mexico could be compelled to agree to this kind of interdiction. Swoop in, apprehend and detain peacefully unless BP comes under fire (might be drug cartel ops, after all), and bring the detainees to the appropriate destination.
Destination 1: detention facility for when contraband material and/or violent conflict is involved. Hold detainees there, away from victims of humanitarian crisis. Process according to law.
Destination 2: something I think of as “immigration pavilions” on the southern side of the border. Surely Mexico could be compelled to accept something like that as something akin to embassies…foreign power on their sovereign soil. Imaging something like a fenced in Wal-Mart sized building. Staff it with the appropriate border personnel, plus doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and lawyers. If you’re legitimately trying to enter, it should be no trouble. It might even be a welcome relief. The refugee/immigration-seeker would be in-processed, medically checked, and offered the social services needed to do things legally…on the southern side. There could be a permanent “jobs fair” there, where industries that use migrant labor legally and legitimately can set up shop to expedite their hiring needs.
People who don’t qualify would be broken into two groups…those than can be prepared to qualify and those that can’t. The ones who can? They can stay and avail themselves of the services that would help them get it right. Those that don’t? They get a free trip back to the border of the country from whence they came. If that can’t be determined, maybe we can work a deal with Argentina to relocate them to a small “free” encampment outside of Tierra del Fuego. The prospect might get the truth out of the indeterminate-origin people.
Part of the cost could be charged to those businesses offering employment. Part of the cost could come out of small payroll deductions from those hired. Part could be paid by Mexico (and other Latin American nations from whence the refugees come). Take some of their foreign aid and direct it to pay for the facilities and personnel. What’s left would be paid by the US taxpayer. I’d be willing to bet the price tag would be far less than $25 billion.
Is it the best idea? Doubtful. Is it the worst? Doubtful. What would you do to improve on it that would keep costs down while also being effective?