Very well, say some, let’s let in educated foreigners, but what about Mexican laborers? Do we need them too? You bet we do. Currently, over half of U.S. farm workers are illegal immigrants from Mexico. American agriculture simply could not function without them. True, they are breaking the law, but if they did not do so, we would not have food. So where does the problem lie — with the illegals, or with the system that makes it illegal for people to do good and necessary work?

To secure legal status for immigrants and then hire them for farm work is a process that can take years. Say you are a businessman living under this regime. What do you do? The answer is clear: You seek to evade the overweening bureaucracy by hiring people off the books, paying them as consultants, or engaging in other tricks. If you did not do so, you would not stay in business. And despite those who might denounce you for giving away American jobs to illegal workers, without your and your illegal employees’ willingness to brave doing what is necessary to function despite the bureaucracy, no one would get any jobs or products from your company.

So the problem is not with the illegal farmworkers, who work long hours in the hot sun to put food on our tables, but with the dysfunctional federal immigration bureaucracy, which has failed to do its job of providing a means for swift and efficient processing and approval of entry and work permits for people who wish to come to the United States for mutually beneficial purposes. That is the problem that a Republican immigration policy needs to fix. The nation needs a fence, but it also needs a well-functioning door.