While the oil leak is grabbing the headlines, the matter of illegal immigration is still an important one. One major concern that people have about illegal immigration is that they associate it with crime (most often drug related) and also with economic woes (immigrants taking American jobs or at least depressing wages).
These concerns are legitimate. After all, drug violence has been on the rise in Mexico and seems to be spilling over into the United States. The impact of illegal immigration on economics also seems to make sense: if there are people who will work for less, then they would tend to get the jobs in question.
While people have generally been pointing fingers at lawmakers for the problems with immigration, the drug and economic problems are largely the responsibility of Americans. To be specific, Americans who purchase Mexican drugs and Americans who hire illegal immigrants are major causal factors in these problems. If Americans did not buy drugs or hire illegals, then these problems would be significantly reduced. Without the vast market in America, there would be less income for drug dealers and hence less incentive for people to go into that field. If Americans did not hire illegals, then illegals would have little incentive to cross the border illegally.
Of course, it seems unlikely that Americans will stop consuming Mexican drugs or hiring illegal workers. New laws probably will not help much. After all, it is already illegal to buy drugs and it is illegal to hire illegal immigrants. We already have rather harsh drug laws and these seem to not be working very well. However, perhaps harsher laws regarding the hiring of illegals would have more of an impact.
If harsher laws would not do much, then perhaps a different approach would be more effective. To be specific, the United States could legalize marijuana and perhaps other drugs as well. We have a clear historical precedent in regards to what happens when an illegal intoxicant is made legal. As such, this would hardly be a journey into new territory-we have a reasonably good idea of what would happen (although we could be surprised). American companies could then buy Mexican grown marijuana and sell it legally. This would, interestingly enough, provide jobs for Mexicans and also significantly reduce drug crimes. This would, to change the old saying, stone two birds with one joint.