Illegal immigration is surging once again. Arrivals from Mexico are falling, while those from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are rising and now make up most of the total intake. Immigration from China and India is growing, too. One reason may be that President Trump's crackdown has ironically inspired its growth: get into the US now while you still can.

The wall doesn't stop illegal immigration. About 62% of our I I million undocumented aliens got here legally, but when their visas expired they simply disappeared. The wall is easily scaled and it requires a great deal of manpower to monitor.

The costs of accommodating the current population of undocumented migrants with medical care, schooling for their children and other entitlements run, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, as high as $116 billion annually. Once they get in, deporting them costs an average of $12,000 per person.

For immigrants hoping to enter the U.S. without documents, a standard practice is to claim a "credible fear" of persecution at home. The NY Times has reported that an "industry of lies" comprised of law firms, interpreters and even churches, flourishes in New York by falsifying documents, photos and witness testimony to convince U.S. authorities that their clients fled their homes from fear of imminent harm. In Chinatown, the Times says, it is an "open secret that most asylum applications are at least partly false."

There is a better way of securing our borders. Since 1986, a system known as E-Verify has allowed employers to check the backgrounds of prospective employees with data compiled by the Social Security Administration and other federal agencies. Employers fill out a form (Form 1-9) which includes information on the legal status of applicants for jobs. If discrepancies are found, the government notifies the employer, often within minutes. It is currently used by a half million businesses.

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The program is run by the Department of Homeland Security and it is simple, free and quick. The system not only screens immigrants, but it also provides an essential feature that is nowhere else in place: punishment of employers who knowingly hire persons without proper credentials.

E-Verify is voluntary, but 20 states have signed onto it so far. When it was adopted by Arizona (the first state to do so) its undocumented population fell by 92,000 as nervous migrants headed for safer territory. The Center for Immigration Studies has said that ''the E-Verify system is remarkably effective in deterring illegal immigration." In states that have adopted the program, illegal aliens seeking work have fallen by half.

With a national system in place, illegal immigration would likely decline everywhere. Most migrants come here to find jobs, and knowing that they were subject to verification might dissuade most of them from coming here in the first place. Many already here would likely self-deport if their current jobs should expire.

Trump wants to spend another $25 billion expand a wall that won't work. All it does is subsidize the ladder industry in Mexico. Meanwhile, traffic crossing the Canadian border is increasing. Why doesn't Trump endorse E-Verify with its obvious advantages? It's simple-the poor devil knows that his likeness will never be on Mt. Rushmore, so the wall will have to do. Its real purpose is to serve as a monument to himself, and the more costly and grandiose it becomes, the better.

The poor we have with us always. To believe that the West can eliminate poverty by welcoming everyone who wants a better life is magical thinking. A Pew Trust poll once reported that 40% of Mexico's population would come here if it could. What would America be like if similar proportions from every failed state tried to do the same? Pew says that if immigration continues at its current rate, we'll have a population of 438 million by 2050. ls this desirable?

Altruism has to be tempered with practicality. Endlessly taking in millions of immigrants, most of them poor and uneducated, will eventually degrade America's ability to do other good works, even for its own citizens, which is why a realistic system of limiting immigrants is vitally necessary