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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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UriahS said...
Jul. 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm:
While I highly agree with your article, I must also remind you that as legal citizens we are in all technicallity immigrants, immigrating from Europe, first as Pioneers, then as a Penal colony, as in the United States being a place where Europe sent all the people that didn't follow the rules. As we have an earned right to be here, paying taxes and fulfilling responsibilities given to us through our Constitution, we do need to stop this problem, because first o all, illegal immigrants create... (more »)
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Miniterror said...
Jul. 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm:
I mostly agree with this article. My dad is a business owner and we work on the very southern border of arizona; so close I could probably bike to mexico in about an hour. You're right about the fact that many immigrants come here for work. The problem is that a large portion of illegal immigrants come because they don't have to work. Our government is currently rapidly increasing rights granted to illegal immigrants, like welfare. I personally know people who's parents don't w... (more »)
smiileyface18 replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 10:15 pm :
I disagree with you. A large portion of them are really hard workers in fact they are really willing to do any job that American citizens don't do such as picking fruit. 
Miniterror replied...
Sept. 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm :
I believe I said that a larger portion are here for work, but many of them do come here to live off of our government's care.
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LexyK2015 said...
May 28, 2013 at 2:17 am:
As far as the environmental aspect, I can testify to the fact that illegal immigration is destroying much of my state's (Arizona) natural beauty. Many washes, especially those slightly south of Tucson, are filled with trash and debris from people immigrating through the land, with no other way of disposing of waste. Garbage, clothing, diapers, plastic, cars, excrement - you name it, it's been discarded in those washes. This not only destroys many of the plants in the areas, but can also ... (more »)
LexyK2015 replied...
May 28, 2013 at 2:19 am :
And also, as far as jobs go, those of you back east may not be impacted, but there is a huge influx of illegal workers here, even with new laws in place. However, I can't imagine what would happen if all the illlegal workers were suddenly deported --- the southwest would cease to function.
Miniterror replied...
Jul. 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm :
I must agree that there is an abundance of illegal workers in Arizona, I live there too. But if all of them were suddenly deported, the economy would simply stagger for a bit. The United States has a history of recovering from economic lows, as long as there isn't excessive government interference.
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B. said...
Aug. 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm:
Good job on this article. Although no plan is perfect and there are many contradicting opinions, the 221 comments here show that this spark of conversation has brought a huge subject to light, so that people can take a thought-provoking look at it.   Also, a thought on how to decrease illegal immigration: how about making it easier to obtain citizenship? The American citizenship process can take years, but by simplifying it, illegal immigrants would have an easier time becoming a citize... (more »)
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sugey1994 said...
Jan. 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm:
First of all i would like to point out that illegal immigrants are not taking any ones jobs. Many farms in Georgia are loosing crops and money because they are no longer hiring Latinos, and the Americans on unemployment are not willing to perform that hard work. The next fact is that if the labor was better paid, Americans would be paying $20 per salad, and im sure no one wants that. And the drugs are coming in because of all the Americans consuming them....if there was not demand the supply w... (more »)
Lisa Chavez replied...
Jan. 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm :
Thank you! Finaaly someone that isn't ignorant like the rest of the people commenting. Its sad that people are blaming immigrants for being here and stealing jobs.. What the heck? Which is not true. I never seen an American working in the fields, sweating, and waking early in the morning and not even working minimum wage. Sadly, people so ignorant like this persom that wrote this essay don't see or undersnand what we go threw. Hopefully one day these people open thier eyes and think about what t... (more »)
IzziButterfly replied...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 11:13 am :
Well, the person who wrote this clearly has no idea what it's like for an illegal immigrant. You have NO idea. I'm a citizen, but put yourself in the illegal immigrant's shoes. Or, put yourself in the shoes of a child citizen whose parents are illegal. Life is tough, huh? I completely disagree with this article.
Miniterror replied...
Jul. 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm :
What do you suggest we do?  
Miniterror replied...
Jul. 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm :
To Sugey 1994. Illegal immigrants are not taking anybody's job, which is the problem, because they usually don't work at all. They simply take government welfare and spend the citizens' tax dollars. I know some people actually need welfare, but we can't be giving it to illegals. And many of the field workers in our country are hard working American citizens, trying to start a living in our great country.
Miniterror replied...
Jul. 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm :
To Lisa Chavez: It's people who think like you are in this comment that bug me. It's not about race, there are illegal Canadians and Europeans too. Many of my friends are Mexican and Latino. It's the people who come here, don't pay taxes and don't get a job that we have a problem with.
Miniterror replied...
Jul. 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm :
 To IzziButterfly: I understand that it is very hard for an immigrant to become a legal citizen. I know that I didn't have to go through that process and that I probably never will. But immigrants choose to come here. If they can't handle it or support themselves in our economy, they can leave. We are not stopping them from leaving if they can't live here.
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proudlyhispanic! said...
Jan. 9, 2012 at 1:48 am:
just remember... every time u pick up an apple, orange, or ur gonna eat ur salad..that if it werent for the imiigrants you wouldnt have it.. they are the one that cultivated them, picked them and thanks to them you can have that snack any time u like.!!!! just think about it. and dont forget ..whether u like it or not, there will ALWAYS be immigrants in the u.s
FlashlevitationThis 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. replied...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm :
I really like this comment! Really clever!
smiileyface18 replied...
Jun. 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm :
Yes, I very much agree. In fact, would it make it more interesting if somebody for once wrote from their perspective instead maybe give reasons why illegal immigrants can help grow are country because they do in many ways. Just advice. I think it's part of being a write and to suprise eveyone with different ideas that not everyone would choose to take. 
Miniterror replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm :
I understand a large amount of field workers are immigrants. A large amount of the immigrants are illegal; but at least they are making a living for themselves and not simply depending on the government for their life's wants and needs.
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cristy said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm:
i think ppl who comment about mexicans being ugly. are haters and that we steal all the good jobs.. no.. we actually get upp in the morning and get to work like we sopouse to do.. the rest of the other ppl who are saing that we steal the jobs sleep allll day and dont do nothing with their life.. just let their life go to waste.. just my opinion
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