The Department of Homeland Security should compile public statistics on the number of undocumented immigrants in the country who enter the country legally and overstay visas, according to Shirk. Once you know how many people are coming in legally (and then becoming undocumented), you can get a better idea of how many people are crossing the border.
Can the Federal Government Meet These Marks in 10 Years?
Shirk thinks it's possible, but he doesn't think it's the best use of resources or the best way to confront illegal immigration.
The federal government spent nearly $18 billion on immigration enforcement in the 2012 fiscal year, and the Senate immigration bill reported authorizes as much as $3.5 billion more for border enforcement over the first five years of the ten-year plan, with the possibility of funding increases.
"If we would rather put our money into that than our education system, and our healthcare system, and our roads and all of the things that make this country an economic superpower," he said, "then you can do it."