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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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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(:
radicalhonesty replied...
Jun. 20, 2011 at 9:36 am :
oops sorry, did not mean my comment to be a reply
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Yamini said...
Apr. 15, 2011 at 11:13 am:
It's funny you should mention this since mexicans, and indians lived in the united states before americans..... Just thought you should know
radicalhonesty replied...
Jun. 20, 2011 at 9:38 am :
Since we are talking about mexicans, i would like to point out that we won the land from Mexico fare and square. All Mexicans were given a choice, retreat to the new Mexican bounderies, or stay. So now, the land is rightfully ours, not Mexico's.
MidnightSol replied...
Jun. 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm :
The land may have been won from mexico, and the mexicans then may have been given a choice, but that was then.  The mexicans, who are now struggling to survive, are doing so because of a choice that was made by an ancestor of theirs. 
radicalhonesty replied...
Jun. 20, 2011 at 8:15 pm :
There are many countries struggling, not just Mexico, because of poor choices made by former leaders. We are talking about a current issue, and we can never get anywhere if people keep looking back at the past and trying to erase it. 
ForeignShowFan replied...
Jul. 12, 2011 at 9:29 am :
Well, some people say that although we won some land fare and square, we took more than we said we would. Besides, if I come to you house with guns, bust down the door, and start screaming, "Get out of here, you live in the dog house now" how would you feel?
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 12:52 pm :
radicalhonesty i would like to point out that we did not win the land, we stole it. I think that a better way of saying it is the Mexicans stole the land from the Native Americans and the United States stole it from the Meixcans. 
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SmileMoment said...
Mar. 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm:
As much as I don't completely agree with  all of your plan, I agree with most of the article. Illigal immigrants/ undocumented aliens should not be allowed to walk right into a country and take away jobs from the countries rightful citizens. No matter how desperate that person is, it is selfish and wrong to impose upon others in this way.
JoJo replied...
Jun. 15, 2011 at 12:13 am :
Look at it this way, You Live In Mexico, you have a family of 2 children and your spouse. You are the only income in your family making 700 pesos a week the same as $70 here in the U.S.A. That is no enough to support a family. You kids are starving and then you here obout people coming to the U.S.A and making $300 a week. See why people are almost forced to come to the U.S.A. That is not being selfish.
TheGirlWhoDancesWithSnowflakes replied...
Dec. 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm :
I find it funny how people are saying the illegal immigrants "stole" the jobs. No, they were employed by Americans to do jobs that most Americans hate to do-- lawn work, construction, etc. If you have a problem with illegal immigrants "stealing" your jobs, then blame the people who employed them, not the immigrants.
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...
Oct. 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm :
YEAH TO THEGIRLWHODANCESWITHSNOWFLAKES!!!!!!!! Could you read my education article? Tell me what you think :)
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K.a.t.h.l.e.e.n. said...
Mar. 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm:
Wow, this piece is excellent!! I think your solution makes a lot more sense than putting up an expensive fence! Very informative, and well thought out, keep writing!!
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mexican power said...
Mar. 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm:
mexican power
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Dreamcandle said...
Mar. 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm:
I really like your writing style, even though I only half agree with your points.  But hey, this is the point of view section.  It's okay to disagree.  Personally, I agree that the way to end this is to stop the cause of why undocumented people (sorry I hate the word "alien" so much...) come here.  However, instead of closing up jobs and such (though we could still use it in some ways), the real answer is ending poverty.  And this doesn't just relate to illegal immigrant... (more »)
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BrightBurningCampeadorThis 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...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm:

You present a veiw shared by many, but not me. We Americans enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. You can talk about the "poverty line" and "incentives" to come here, but I don't think you really understand how most of the world lives. I wonder how you would feel if you were in their position.

We have no moral right to deny these people a better life. And even if we did we would be stuck with a problem. "Illegal immigrants" (please, the the correct term is "undocum... (more »)

SmileMoment replied...
Mar. 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm :
United State's Total National Debt is currently over $55,000,000,000,000. Sending money to other countries when we currently have none ourselves is, let us face it, extremely unwise. Before a jewler can sell a golden ring he must have the gold to make it with. Before America does any excess spending, they need to make sure they are out of debt. If you researched yhou would find that when, for instance, Mexico is billions of dollars in debt, the U.S. is trillions of dollars in debt. If&... (more »)
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splinteredsunlight said...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm:
I think this is a pretty selfish opinion. This is rampant American greed based on entitlement. There are a limited amount of resources in the world, and the fair thing to do is to spread it around. Mexicans have a far lower average standard of living than Americans, so of course they'll want to seek a better life. But even in these efforts, illegal immigrants are, for the most part, in the lowest income range among those living in the U.S. The fact that our lowest standard is better than anythin... (more »)
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Debanhi said...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm:
first of all its not "illegal immigtrants" the correct term is undocumented! and undocumented people are not taking anyone's jobs away they are doing the jobs many american citizens dont want to do!
JORDANM replied...
Apr. 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm :
Yes that is true about the jobs, but crossing the border is illegal in the first place. If an American crossed the border illegally they would be treated much more harshly and be deproted immediatly.
brianna replied...
Aug. 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm :
I really dissagree with what you said about them taking jobs away from us. They usually get a job no one else wants, getting stuck with a horible job and very little pay just to put food on their family's table, and also I belive that, in many cases they help out economy because many of them come here to make businesses. Although not all of them are here for a good reason, I still beleive that many of them deserve to stay.
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