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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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sunnybeach2 said...
Nov. 27, 2009 at 8:49 pm:
I think everyone has their own opinions but Kate i think your thinking wrong. Do you see citizens crying because an illegal immigrant took the position in working in the fields or as housekeepers? You dont see an illegal immigrant working in an office! If they were then it would be a problem.That would mean they are taking jobs from citizens. But we are benefited from this
YeseniaG replied...
Dec. 17, 2009 at 1:14 pm :
It is true that they are most likely taking jobs that the average US citizen would not take but those are not the only jobs they are taking. They are working for such little pay that the people hiring them or making way more money than intended and therefore are able to take advantage of the average citizen when it comes to purchasing their product.
romy2mallari replied...
Jan. 11, 2010 at 10:04 am :
i'm a legal resident, close to be a full citizen of the united states, i have to symphatized with the amercan way of living. I do think if i live in this country i should respect it by learning its language and its culture. i have try my best, and those efforts are going to waste. I have live in the USA for about 10 years, i have learn its history and understood the pride of the nation. My brother is a cadet at West Point Academy and a veteran of the USA army. However, i been bother by my i... (more »)
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NutMeg said...
Nov. 25, 2009 at 5:03 pm:
Since when did we have the money for an 8+ year war that robs us daily of time, money, and lives?
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screenname! said...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 1:53 pm:
I think this is a great idea!
Kate. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 7:41 pm :
:D Many thanks!
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rollinwithdabigdogs said...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 12:22 pm:
i think i disagree with this article, yes illegal immigration is a problem but when you have six kids and you can't provide enough income for your family and they are starving you have to go to drastic measures. stopping immigrants from using our hospitals and schools i think is wrong because they are people too and they have the same needs we have.
screenname! replied...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm :
He is not saying that immigrants are not allowed but those who come here illegally. They are taken from the land without adding to it. Immigrants-legal immigrants- on the other hand, pay taxes and help the economy.
I understand that people are going through a lot in other countries, but that is no reason to take the illegal way out. As they say: the end is not justified by the means!
Kate. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 7:39 pm :
Thanks, screenname!. That is absolutely right...
And rollinwithdabigdogs, I understand that when the going gets tough you do have to do extreme things, but the should never be illegal. Otherwise, chaos would ensue and we'd be well on our way to a dystopia.
Kate. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 7:40 pm :
However, rollinwithdabigdogs: I appreciate your opinion.
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SAND13GO said...
Oct. 21, 2009 at 12:13 pm:
Fuck you replied...
Jan. 11, 2010 at 10:08 am :
they work on factories , restaurants, bars , and others. they get more help than any other american citizen and yes i had try to work but always get set aside because they higher cheaper illegal immigrants
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Kate. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 30, 2009 at 6:30 pm:
Good point, aaron1213.
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aaron1213 said...
Jun. 28, 2009 at 8:14 pm:
I think that most of the people in this forum need to be way more educated before they just read an artical and debate. There is way more then just hoping a fence.
Kate. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 7:41 pm :
You are absolutely right.
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ilovehorses said...
May 20, 2009 at 1:41 am:
i wrote a editiorial on illegal immigration :)
i dont think it is on the site yet though.
If you want to look at it when its on the site its titled aliens in the us?
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ladybug31 said...
Apr. 3, 2009 at 6:15 pm:
I, as the best friend of an illegal immigrant, do respect your opinions. however, not all illegal immigrants are a "burden" on America. we have many more important things to deal with at this time (the war in Iraq- for example) than some people that are hopping the fence to stay here and escape from the pain and torture of their home countries. thank you for your opinions. well written
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jbradford96 said...
Mar. 18, 2009 at 7:10 am:
This piece is well written and I respect your opinons. Nice work!
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Anthony said...
Jan. 22, 2009 at 6:52 pm:
What a wonderful article.Very insightful and very well thought out.
You are doing just great at writing.I really enjoyed this,please keep writing.
You know Kathryn,all writers started writing some place,and you have a wonderful start.
Your ability to look for information,find what you need and include it,is well thought out,and timley.
Again,thank you for your nice article.
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mrocky111 said...
Jan. 21, 2009 at 7:34 pm:
Your right Immagrants won't cross over if they won't make money, so do NOT give them a job to begin with,though, the buisness owners should probably just be fined not suspended
screenname! replied...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 2:00 pm :
Not immigrants, mind you, illegal immigrants. Immigrants have contributed to the economy(take a look at Walt Disney, and some famous scientist) Illegal immigrants on the other hand, reduce from the economy because they hide between the cracks and just sap the economy.
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