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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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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
sophie1994 replied...
Jan. 5, 2012 at 10:18 am :
i soo agree to it is so truee :)
Miniterror replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm :
What is it with everbody and race. This article does not target Mexicans, it targets illegal aliens. I know many Mexicans go through the immigration process so they can become legal citizens of the United States. It's the fact that there are those who don't do this that is the problem. The article simply states that many immigrant that come to the United States today are from Mexico.
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andieyup This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 1:01 pm:
ignorant and racist article attitudes like this is a disgrace to human nature
smiileyface18 replied...
Jun. 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm :
Miniterror replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm :
Tell me how this is racist. You realize that the only reason you are potraying  this as a racist article is because you believe that this writer is attacking Mexicans, but the fact is that it is not just Mexicans, but a large number of illegal immigrants from other countries.
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RunnerThis 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...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm:
I'm sorry Arizona is a model state...?
RunnerThis 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...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm :
Our entire produce industry is reliant on illegal immigrants. 75% were born outside of the United States, 50% illegally immigrated. Most Americans would not be willing to take these farm jobs with substandard wages, risk of poisoning from pesticides, with no vacation time or health benefits.
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Derek Carson said...
Dec. 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm:
My opinion on this topic is quite extensive.  I do agree on the fact that if man wants to do something they will find a way whether there is a consequence or not.  I also agree entirely that laws should be passed to prohibit giving away jobs to illegal immigrants for less salary.  This is unfair because the illegal foreigners are being treated better than the American citizen just because Americans ask for a better salary to live.  That’s the same reason M... (more »)
smiileyface18 replied...
Jun. 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm :
Maybe one day you'll grow up
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savetheplanet said...
Oct. 30, 2011 at 11:13 pm:
Kate, I really appreciate this article because for once someone has offered a solution that doesn't just blast the immigrants on how wrong they are.  Many privileged people complain about how they're taking jobs, ect. without taking into consideration the kind of situation the the immigrants are in.  Your solution benefits everyone involved, America, the businesses, and the immigrants.  So thank you! :)
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Liv297 said...
Oct. 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm:
to smile moment: I'd like to point out that there is no possible way the US has 55 trillion dollars of debt. At any given time, there is only 27 trillion dollars in circulation.
iamnotwhoisay replied...
Dec. 11, 2011 at 11:26 am :
Right now the debt is $15,104,187,000,000. When I started typing this reply it was 2 million dollars less. It's rapidly growing second by second.
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ThePeaceDaisy said...
Oct. 30, 2011 at 12:26 am:
I hope you realize that we're not a country...the land is the country. We just live in the country.
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valery_o07 said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 11:06 am:
I believe the most productive states of usa were mexico's land and if we would have our territories back, the ones that are in the gulf of mexico, mexico wouldn't have to share petrolium. More than a problem, us citizen should recognize the millions of dollars that ilegal people apport to the economy each year.
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femin gonsalez said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 8:46 am:
this article is bored
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Bambi67 said...
Aug. 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm:
i feel like i read this article twice...
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SmileMoment said...
Jun. 30, 2011 at 11:13 pm:
Yes, however, it is not America's problem that Mexico is poor. Try getting a job in my town as a teen and it's close to impossible because illigal immigrants have come here and taken the jobs that should go to American citizens. Coming to another country and stealing their jobs and taking advantage of their welfare systom, no matter how no the cause, is wrong.
ConstanceContraireThis 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. replied...
Apr. 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm :
Umm we contributed to their poverty
Miniterror replied...
Sept. 21, 2013 at 10:08 pm :
I don't so much mind that many illegal immigrants come here and work. If they can get decent jobs without papers, we should be able to do better. And I must agree that it is not the United States' fault that Mexico is not extremely wealthy.  Many of Mexico's hard workers come the U.S. because it is easier to make a living here and because it is much safer. Mexico is extremely dangerous in many areas. It's Mexico's own fault that they do not do something about it.
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giobmw509 said...
May 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm:
your story is like the same as mine. exactly the same. my parents brough me here for a better life than they had when they were in mexico. my parents started working since they were little and they dont want my future to be like theirs. they want me to success. im 17 right now and lived here in the united states my whole life now. i consider myself a proud mexican/american(:
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