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Ending Illegal Immigration This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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We are a country founded on the many cultures that are drawn here by the promise of a better life. Historically, we have prided ourselves on being a cultural melting pot. However, the increasing number of illegal immigrants is becoming a problem. An illegal immigrant is someone who has either entered a country without permission or who, after being granted entry, has stayed beyond the allowed time. And although many think this is a uniquely American problem, it is also happening in many prosperous countries in Europe.

This raises an interesting moral conflict, because although illegal immigrants have broken the law, they are ­often forced to do so out of a desperate need to survive and support their ­families.

Why is immigration considered such a large problem in our country? A common concern is that illegal immigrants put financial burdens on our schools and hospitals, and often do not pay their share of taxes. Another concern is that illegal immigrants take jobs away from American citizens.

Many solutions have been suggested – from increasing border control and installing fences, to granting amnesty – but so far not one has solved the problem. If we increase border control and install fences, we are simply slowing the problem. Furthermore, that would be very expensive and, based on past experience, not very effective. It also has a negative ecological impact, ­disrupting animal migration and the natural flow of rivers. Conversely, by granting amnesty to all, we are rewarding lawbreakers, which will possibly encourage more people to enter illegally. We tried this tactic in 1986, granting amnesty to 2.7 million illegal immigrants. Before this, 140,000 people ­immigrated here illegally each year; now there are 700,000.

Many suggest ways of slowing or avoiding the problem, but in reality we need to end it. To do this, we have to tackle it at the source. We must eliminate the reasons people enter the U.S. illegally. Primarily they come for jobs. Many businesses will hire cheap labor so they can sell their products at lower prices and stay competitive. Employers who hire illegal immigrants benefit at others’ expense. They contribute to the problem by creating a demand for illegal immigrants. We need to make them responsible for their actions and at the same time find ways to solve their problems.

My solution to immigration begins with eliminating incentives for people to come to America illegally. To do this, we must increase and enforce the penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants. If employers don’t lure illegal immigrants here with jobs, then they may be less likely to try to get ­into our country illegally. On the ­positive side, there would be more jobs for legal citizens and only people who pay taxes would use our schools and hospitals.

Arizona sets an example of this proposed solution. On January 1, 2008, that state introduced a law that any business knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant will have its business license suspended. For the second offense, the license will be canceled. This may seem severe, but experience shows that penalties must be substantial to be effective.

Arizona may be a role model for the rest of the United States. However, because it has just implemented this law, we do not know how effective it will be, nor do we know what unforeseen aftershocks will result. I believe, though, that there is reason to be positive, because if we are to have a noticeable impact on this problem, we must have significant penalties for employers.

However, as with every solution, my proposed answer may spark new obstacles. If employers do not hire the cheap labor of illegal immigrants, they will have to hire American citizens who will probably demand a higher wage. As a result, products will be more expensive and consumers will pay higher prices. In response to this problem, the states should form committees with the brightest people in the immigration and economics fields to work with ­employers to help solve their employment needs and mitigate the effects on the economy. The committees would work with legislators to draft laws so businesses do not have to hire people illegally in order to compete.

My solution is focused on trying to come up with an immediate response to this problem. If we look at the big picture, however, the only long-term solution to illegal immigration is to think globally and realize the problem extends beyond our borders. To do this, we need to help neighboring countries balance their population growth with their resources, including food and housing. In this regard, the United States can play an important leadership role by providing direct help and by being a good role model.

Mexico’s population is growing at a rate that surpasses its economic capacity. About 40 percent of its population lives below the poverty level. As a result, Mexicans are in desperate need of jobs and income; thus, many immigrate to the United States. Eighty percent of people immigrating to the United States are from Mexico and Central America.

In conclusion, tightening borders may slow illegal immigration, but it is not a solution. If people want to come, they will find a way. Therefore, we must get rid of the reasons that illegal immigrants come to our country and establish incentives for employers not to hire them. We also must balance population growth so that in the future we have a world shared equally between people and the environment. To do this we need to look and think ­beyond our borders, and into the ­future, so this problem can disappear into the past.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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vanevice said...
today at 10:38 am:
i disagree to who ever wrote this article i can asure you your past family is a immmigrant and migrated to this cuntry and i belive that every human bein is equal and immrigation is the stupestest thing ever eberyone should be able to move to any where in the country and work to provide for their family immigration is justanother word for rasism
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noah714 said...
Oct. 14 at 9:02 am:
i disagree with this article people should be able to come to the U.S without any promblem. No one in this world is perfect why think you are to other people  
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ramfthomas4This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 22 at 6:08 pm:
I have no particular solution (or opinion) dealing with immigration, but I have recently been paying attention to a rapid and troublesome rise in numbers of unaccompanied child immigrants.  These children, mostly between the ages of 7-14 (though some are much younger, and some older) come primarily from Guatemala, Honduras, and other crime ridden South American countries.  As shown by this official Department of Homeland Security stat. sheet, the numbers of unaccompanied children have ... (more »)
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JesusandHisLawyersThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 21 at 2:08 am:
Dude, if you're not a Native American, you can't talk about how icky you think immigrants are. Go preach at the teaparty idiots, they'll be sure to cheer you on while they try to force the US back into the dark ages. 
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Texas U.S. Citizen said...
Mar. 16 at 11:14 pm:
On any given day, pregnant women cross the Border from Mexico to deliver their offspring and thereby, give them the gift of citizenship.  After that, they remain here..."living in the shadows" while collecting SSI, subsidized housing, food stamps, and getting free medical care and education for that, so called "American Citizen" they gave birth to; because, after all, the child qualifies for all those benefits.   As a result of that, those illegal "i... (more »)
MLWhite replied...
Apr. 17 at 11:32 am :
So you're saying that Mexicans are the only ones who come here to deliver their offspring so they can get government assistance? I do not agree with you because I also know that other races do the same, so you cant say that mexicans are the only ones because i can prove you this
RosieD replied...
Sep. 14 at 2:47 pm :
Yes, your right Mexicans are not the only ones doing this. But it still doesn't make it right!!! If they come over here and have their babies they should still be sent back. Where ever they came from. So prove it all you want. Doesn't make it right.
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rwscott said...
Mar. 3 at 6:11 pm:
  I'm willing to guess that your ancestors were not American Indians, and that they immigrated here for a better life.    Had they faced the same difficulties current immigrants now face, (red tape, national security concerns, exhorbitant costs, racism, etc. ) they would have probably had to resort to the same imperfect methods that you rail against.    America was built by immigrants and we should never forget that. Our failed immigration system is to blame, not... (more »)
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neff12 said...
Dec. 6, 2013 at 5:56 pm:
I'm sorry but this article is offensive not to me but i think immigration is not right if they're causing harm to america but there are families there that are not as fortunate as us and its up to us to welcome those who are here for good reasons  
dvingelli replied...
Mar. 12 at 5:21 pm :
Perhaps if we changed the rules so more people could come here legally and start paying taxes, there would not be so many illegal immigrants draining the economy.
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Deej6595 said...
Nov. 16, 2013 at 10:18 pm:
I feel like for an arguement like this you should state in the end why you are against illegal immigration. For example, "....We should do x,y, z...That is why I am against immigration." You kind of shut people out by stating point blank your opinion and then they don't want to read it. Some of your points are understandable, but some of the things you said kind of sounded unorganized. Like when you said that immigrants are taking jobs from us and then you said we would demand high... (more »)
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EnriqueY59 said...
Oct. 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm:
I'm for this solution, I really like this instead of the many Americans saying we have more border control, or higher fences
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Elenarios17 said...
Oct. 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm:
There are a lot of illegal immigrants coming into the US. Maybe too many of them, but I do understand that they are just trying to get a better future
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120312Ser said...
Oct. 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm:
I agree that they should stop and put on end to illegal immigration because eventually the United States will over populate and the United States will go broke.
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Sarahm15 said...
Oct. 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm:
Illegal immigration should be put to an end. We have to get rid of the reasons for people to illegally immigrate. If we don't change our ways it will only continue to happen.
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Bree said...
Oct. 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm:
I personally don't have a view on illegal immigrants. They're just people. I honestly don't care.
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smiileyface18 said...
Sept. 22, 2013 at 9:40 am:
They are hardworking people, and I don't think anyone really PLANS on living off welfare. I mean, they don't live here at the time they plan to come, they must have no idea what is the process of welfare is and what it means. Nobody comes here to live off the government. That's my opinion though. 
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jeremiahmiami said...
Sept. 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm:
I have recently read your article and i was very confused why do you want to end illegal immigration? What have the done to deserve this type of punishment? Illegal immigrants come to the U.S to escape proverty all they want is a better life for there kids and families. I disagree with ur theory that immigrants put a financial burden on our school and hospitals, and often do not pay their share of taxes. In reality we need to stop makeing up excuses and take accountability and stop blaming a cer... (more »)
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RBobHS said...
Sept. 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm:
I disagree with your view. you seem to have a few strong opinions that are not fully developed. you seem very closed minded. you talked about immigrants as if they weren't human beings. immigrants do more than just take american jobs and your solution might not work. it might cause more problems.
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zgvariant said...
Jul. 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm:
I agree that illegal immigration needs to be solved, but the problem isn't the United States. If the UN offered the assistance third world countries in South America need to get rid of the cartels and actually build up thier middle class, illegal immigrants would have no reason to come here. 
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