Modern governments stubbornly insist on perceiving immigration as a threat to national security and immigrants as potential criminals; consequently they attempt to lobby for stricter measures around migration and border control. In this paper, based on analysis of policies and statistical data, three models of the fight against irregular migration (US, European, and Russian) are compared, considering geopolitical and socioeconomic features. It is observed that the Russian model is characterized by economic barriers (the costs of patents and work permits) and the predominance of administrative measures due to the visa-free regime with the main donor-countries. However, in the case of the US, a key way to combat irregular migration in recent years has been strengthening its physical borders to restrain massive flows from Mexica and other Latin American countries. Because of the influx of asylum seekers from Middle Eastern and African countries, the European model has been modernized by the implementation of mixed measures: the militarization of border control (even between EU countries), the creation of barriers both physical (e.g. the Hungarian border barrier) and social (e.g. deportation), and agreements with third countries (e.g. with Turkey). The paper argues that these models are not able to give the desired results despite the significant administrative and financial expenses on the implemented measures. In a market economy, illegal immigration flows cannot be fully stopped, but their scale can be reduced. This requires state measures to regulate the legal channels for hiring foreign labor, which will prevent immigrant participation in the informal economy.