Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

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

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
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.

Join the Discussion

This article has 260 comments. Post your own!

Pizza HuT said...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 11:19 am:
the situation replied...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 11:39 am :
now thats a situation
PHILL replied...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm :
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
Mar. 1, 2011 at 11:17 am:
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
TRAVIS said...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 11:10 am:
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
Dickies said...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm:
i hated black people
christine carillo replied...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 11:16 am :
i hate them 2
Dickies replied...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 11:19 am :
i hated beaners too
be realistic replied...
Mar. 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm :
^^^^^ possibly some of the most ignorant people that can speak english.
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
hi hi hi hi hi said...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm:
 h i h i hi hi hi hihi hi hi hi
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
Dickies said...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm:
 mi name is dickies n i go powell
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm:
tahahah replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm :
my name is niomie barraza
Val24 replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm :
My Names Valerie Barraza(:
lalallal replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm :
hi niomi ur my sister right
oscar replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm :
hi im oscar barraza we might be related
fernie75 replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm :
My Names Fernando Barraza Too! .. Jocker . 
chris replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm :
my name is chris barraza i think you might be my dad
fernando barraza replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm :
u guys r lame
Chris replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm :
Hi Pappi 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
Site Feedback