Step 1: Do something to stop the problem going forward.
I believe a wall is important, but not as important as a deterrent! The U.S. is a nation of laws, and those laws must be enforced. In order to solve the problem of Illegal Immigration going forward, we must deport those who enter illegally! We must spread the word that the U.S. will enforce its laws, and that word will act as a deterrent and go a very long way toward solving the problem. For too many years the opposite has been true, for example, word is out that the U.S. will not enforce its laws and that States like California will harbor those who enter the country illegally. We must stop this now by demanding responsible leadership in government!
Step 2: Deal with the consequences of prior mistakes.
Once a deterrent is in place, we will need to address the people who are here. Prior administrations failed to secure the borders and enforce the law. As a result, many people ended up in the U.S. and have lived substantial portions if not the entirety of their lives here. We need a fair approach and a fresh start to dealing with those who are here illegally, and who have been here long term. I think this approach should focus on individual merits. Those Illegal Immigrants who are willing to pay a DACA-like fee of about $495, undergo a background check, and prove that they (i) contribute financially (or are in school and on a path to contribute), (ii) have not and do not commit crimes, and (iii) have assimilated by learning English should be offered a pathway to citizenship and allowed to reside in this great country. An individual’s spouse and children should be able to stay with them. America wants contributing people, but opposes those who are here illegally and usurp American resources (healthcare, education, judicial system, welfare, water, housing and freeways, among other things) without recompense.
It’s time to look at this problem not in terms of brown vs. white people, but in terms of green dollars and red balance sheets.