Judicial Rulings Ending the Obama Administration's Family Detention Policy: Implications for Illegal Immigration and Border Security [open pdf - 2MB]
"The political debate over immigration--both legal and illegal--has become steadily more divisive over the last few decades, resulting in a policy stalemate. The complexity, inadequacy of information, and changing nature of the problem only deepen the challenge of finding solutions. [...] No one really knows how many people enter the United States illegally each year, or how many people currently reside in the country illegally. The number of apprehensions is often used as a surrogate statistic to estimate the levels of illegal immigration and residency. It is an imperfect surrogate to say the least. To illustrate one distortion, some Mexican migrants living close to the border who attempt to enter the country illegally may be apprehended multiple times. Migrants from Central America who are apprehended and returned to their countries of origin do not have the same opportunity for multiple illegal crossings. As a result, multiple apprehensions of Mexicans tend to overstate the assumed extent of illegal immigration. Even the definition of 'apprehension' itself has changed over time, further distorting the numbers. [...] The goal of any immigration reform should be to deter and reduce the number of people entering illegally, overstaying a visa, or entering without proper documentation. Immigration should be a legal and controlled process. Over the last 30 years, Congress has passed multiple bills that are either primarily designed to fix this problem or that have elements that attempt to address it. [...] [I]n spite of these attempted legislative fixes, the problem has only continued to grow."
United States Senate, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/