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The General Strain Theory offers three possible explanations for juvenile delinquency. They are delinquency resulting when an individual is blocked from attaining positive goals, behavior resulting from removal of positive goals or threat and delinquency resulting from exposure to negative stimuli. This paper is going to use crime rate among illegal immigrants to demonstrate practical application of the theory. Therefore, the high crime and delinquency rate among illegal immigrants can thus be explained:
The loss of major goal where the illegal immigrant realizes that to attain the same level of status as an American citizen, he has to work harder in several times. This is because of the fact that most of the high paying jobs will be out of reach for the illegal immigrant. It, therefore, becomes hard to reach the same status in the society as an American citizen. Since most of them are lured into America by the promise of better paying jobs and a good life, the absence of these promises leads to criminality and delinquency tendencies.
The presentation of the noxious stimuli is in form of being constantly hunted down to face the law. As illegals, these people live under constant fear that the law will catch up with them and they will be deported back to their countries. The average illegal immigrant, therefore, tries to make the most of the time he is in the USA not knowing when the law will catch up with him. He also tries to attain his dream of gaining material wealth, notwithstanding the means.
The third triggering factor is the removal of the positive stimuli which in this case is recognition. In many states the laws against illegal immigrants become harsher with time. People employing the illegal immigrants take advantage of this to deprive them of the little comfort they may have knowing they would not dare to present themselves to the authorities. This breeds resentment and frustration. This is in turn expressed through crime as the individual strives to avenge against the society.
The theory of cognitive restructuring is about helping the individual to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. In case of the illegal immigrant, he can receive help to adapt to the situation by being counseled. This can be reinforced by pointing the individual to the many immigrants that have been able to gain citizenship. The individual can also be helped to realize that his destiny depends more on what he does for himself than what the society does to him.