The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

2nd DDO Census Debate: Syrian Refugees

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 1/12/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,104 times Debate No: 84782
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (46)
Votes (1)




The Resolution:
The USFG Should Accept Syrian Refugees.

With the threat of ISIS in the middle east, and the civil war in Syria, a number of refugees have sought nations like the US to call their new home. However, as the threat of refugees being used to hide terrorists finds it's way into the thoughts of Americans following a number of shootings from France and locations within the US, the debate over allowing them in has become a hot topic of discussion.

- No wars (source wars or definition wars, etc...)
- No kritiking.
- No Conduct or S&G votes.
- Proper formatting must be used (and consistent.)
- First round is for acceptance and clarification only.

The winner shall receive a choice between a $25 gift card to Amazon or Walmart.

Pro side is represented by Whiteflame, and advised by Skepsikyma. Con side is represented by TUF, and advised by Bsh1.


USFG: The United States Federal Government, specifically those departments concerned with immigration policy.

Should: Implies a policy and the need for a lens to view the success of said policy. In this case, the debate will focus on a comparison of the net benefits of upholding and negating the resolution.

Accept: In this case, to accept means to allow these individuals to live within U.S. borders under refugee status. "Refugee status is a form of protection that may be granted to people who meet the definition of refugee and who are of special humanitarian concern to the United States." [] This is akin to being granted asylum, and each results in the following:
"Once granted, both statuses allow you to stay in the United States indefinitely. Asylees and refugees are given permission to work and are allowed to apply for a green card (within one year of either entering the United States as a refugee or being approved for asylum)."

Syrian Refugees: This designates the individuals who will be discussed in this case - those from Syria. "Refugees are generally people outside of their country who are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear serious harm." [] The full legal definition can be found in that link.

With that, I await our opponent's acceptance, and the start of this debate.

If there is any source of disagreement with the definitions, from either TUF or Bsh1, please contact me in advance of accepting this debate so that they can be altered.


I would like to thank Whiteflame and skepsikyma for their patience in starting this debate. Unfortunately I was unable to get a hold of my previous adviser (bsh1) before this debate started so Donald.Keller, the tournament host, was gracious enough to offer me his advisory assistance during this debate.

We agree with the definitions provided by our opponent in the opening round, and feel the need only to clarify the resolution. We feel it is assumed the refugee acceptance stated in the resolution is thought to mean specifically mean during time of civil war, and that at such time that these refugees" home country (Syria) has settled down, that the affirmative would support sending such refugees home.

As the Con in this debate, me and Donald.Keller will be making arguments for the devil"s advocate position on this topic, arguing that Syrian refugees should not be accepted at all into the United States. We look forward to an exciting debate, and wish Whiteflame and skepsikyma the best of luck in their first round of debate.

Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to TUF and donald.keller for engaging in this debate with us, and thanks to Skepsikyma for assisting me.

As this is a policy debate, it should be assessed through the lens of net benefits. Our case will be compared either with the status quo or with a counter plan presented by Con, and voters should determine who won based on who produces the greatest benefit for all parties involved.

Our case is contextual to the topic. We need not specify just how many should be taken, only that Syrian refugees should be accepted into the U.S., and that the necessary costs be borne federally. Just as Con stated, when that refugee status ends, they would either be required to seek citizenship or return home.

1) Crisis

There are 4.6 million people who have fled Syria, as of last month.[1] This is clearly the result of safety issues within a war-torn nation.[2] The number of refugees is still rising, and will keep rising for the foreseeable future. Still more are displaced within Syria itself, and they are likely to add to this number.[1]

Currently, Turkey hosts 1.9 million. Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon have some 2.1 million.[3] Roughly 1 million have arrived in Europe, with the vast majority coming from Syria.[4]

The problem is that the capacities and willingness of these nations to take on more people is not enough. Many go through Greece, where economic austerity has resulted in weakened protection systems for the poor. Asylum-seekers and refugees demanding the full attention of civil-society organizations, resulting in rampant xenophobia, intolerance, discrimination and even violence.[5] Europe as a whole is in such dire straits that there's a fear that the refugee crisis will tear it apart, with the Germans, their strongest economy, talking about shutting their borders and even reviving the Deutschmark.[6]

The international system aimed at addressing the crisis is failing. "[T]he EU's Schengen Agreement theoretically guarantees a baseline of free movement. However, the Dublin Regulation restricts asylum seekers to applying for relief in a single state, which mean that to reach their destination of choice... refugees must cross through multiple, and increasingly hostile, borders."[7] Borders are closed in Spain, Greece, Hungary, Turkey, Austria, Slovenia, Sweden, Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia. Many countries have even constructed fences to keep refugees out. Authorities are physically assaulting, violently clashing with, and arbitrarily imprisoning refugees at their borders.[7-14] These efforts "drive people toward riskier, more chaotic overland or sea routes."[7] Almost 7,000 migrants are estimated to have lost their lives simply trying to travel to these locations, and that toll is likely to increase as more safe routes of transit vanish.[15]

Among Middle East nations, Lebanon alone hosts 1 million refugees, which is dramatically overwhelming its population of less than 5 million people.[16] Refugees are pushed into legal limbo, subjected to fears of jail or harassment, and face long-term poverty as the benefits that Lebanon receives from the UN continue to shrink. Jobs are scarce and education more so as children are often forced to work in order to eat.[17] They've closed their borders, as have Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan.[18] The situation in Jordan, with over a million refugees, is so bad that many are returning to Syria due to a lack of medical care, food and water.[19]

The situation in these countries is desperate as cold temperatures put countless lives at risk in nations with limited resources and refugees still in limbo.[20]

There's clearly a need here, and while some nations are making minor dents in that need,[21] many are blocking any route in for migrants, leading to what's been termed as "The New Iron Curtains".[22] The lack of avenues by which to exit the desperate situation in Syria ensures that millions of people will be left with a terrible choice: stay in war-torn Syria, or risk life and limb emigrating. This has led the UN refugee agency to call for 130,000 Syrians refugees to be resettled by the end of 2016.[23]

A U.S. commitment to register refugees advances the quality of life of those individuals and prevents deaths. It doesn't matter how many we accept - even if we go with the 10,000 Obama has already promised,[24] that would be a substantial benefit, returning to these people some semblance of safety and showing them basic humanity.

2. Duty

The U.S. has made itself responsible for these refugees. Obama has already made that commitment, and to turn our back on that explicit agreement is tremendously detrimental to our international image, making the U.S. look like we're so paranoid about Muslim terrorism that we would ignore a humanitarian crisis and eschew our self-imposed obligation.

But if that promise is not enough, our history should be. "[T]he United States has given a home to some three million refugees since 1975. In 2013, they came from 64 different countries." We even created the U.S. Refugee Admissions program, a legislative framework dedicated to refugee resettlement and protection. Using that history, the U.S. can better couch its decision to take on these refugees, using past data to show that they will not be burdens on society and that their children will be cared for.[25] There's support among the population, as many citizens are even willing to open their homes.[26]

Our duty is also international. Other nations are taking on so many refugees because they recognize this is a crisis, but they're at or past their breaking point. The United Nations has submitted more than 12,000 resettlement cases to the U.S. for consideration.[27] We should consider them. Other countries know that the U.S. can take on refugees, and they expect us to help shoulder the load. To do otherwise would tell the international community and our allies that we don't care about their problems, spitting in their faces when they need our assistance.

3. Backlash

A large part of why ISIS is so successful is the result of their propaganda. It has been successful because we've failed to understand that "the problem of the Islamic State [is] a political problem with a media dimension, not the other way around." Political realities are intrinsically linked to their messaging and thus, so long as the political realities exist, we cannot divorce them from the propaganda.[28]

Taking in these refugees is an opportunity to alter those political realities. By reducing all of the problems we've mentioned in our first contention, we're also denying ISIS fodder that continues to be used to recruit people from all across the world.

But it goes deeper than that. Propaganda is most successful when the message being presented is facilitated by the facts, i.e. people aren't going to believe something just because they're told it's true. If they see evidence that shows that the propaganda is deceptive, then that propaganda loses much of its power to sway them. Right now, despite Obama's message of acceptance, many U.S. governors are actively banning the entry of refugees, and the result has been a general perception that Americans hate or fear these refugees.[29]

That bolsters the Islamic State's legitimacy. Their messaging "give[s] the impression of deep discomfort and even jealousy that the Muslim population the Islamic State so covets for its self-proclaimed 'caliphate' would rather live in 'infidel' Western lands." ISIS was happy to take responsibility for the Paris attacks because they "calculate[d] that a small number of attackers can profoundly shift the way that European society views its 44 million Muslim members and, as a result, the way European Muslims view themselves." They want the West "to equate refugees with terrorists. In turn, [ISIS] wants refugees to equate the West with prejudice against Muslims and foreigners."[30]

Thus, taking in refugees has multiple benefits.

First, the treatment of those refugees who come here will stand as examples of good treatment of Muslims. This undermines ISIS propaganda and improves U.S. messaging abroad.

Second, these Syrians will spread their personal stories by social media and other means. While messages from the U.S. itself may be written off, the various associations of these people with their fellow countrymen will lend credence to what they say.

Third, every refugee can interact with the general American populace, telling their stories about ISIS and the civil war. First-hand accounts will dramatically reduce the incentive for individuals from this country to go abroad and join ISIS. As some 30,000 people have defected and who are complicit in their terrorist actions, this is important.[31]

The result of all this is a general failure of ISIS propaganda, which dramatically reduces their power. They require a caliphate to rule and people to conscript, not to mention an influx of people from without. In both cases, this functions against them, reducing the propensity for those in western nations, particularly Americans, to be drawn by that propaganda and reducing the general enmity of Syrian civilians for the U.S. While this may not be enough by itself to stop ISIS, it hamstrings them, reducing the effectiveness of one of their most potent weapons and improving the image of the U.S. abroad in the process.




1. Crisis

This point largely focuses on the crisis refugees face, and there limited options in safety. Going through my opponents argument here, he mentions that refugees face intolerance, discrimination,and violence. Unfortunately we believe that discrimination would be just as bad (maybe worse) with refugees inside the United States. Due to many recent events caused by ISIS, many Americans fear terrorism, and accepting refugees is the last thing many Americans want. Americans, in the past have always had a hard time treating refugees much better than other countries.

The major difference is now, we are under real threat of terrorism from a group of people coming from the very country these refugees are coming from. (1)
America has a history of negative treatment of orientation's belonging to countries we were in war with. Okay it is 2016, and maybe times have changed from the mis-treatment of Japanese Americans from after WW2,(2) but blatant discrimination aside, these refugees may have a hard time finding jobs, and living and sustaining themselves economically.
The US may be cheap compared to other European countries, but we aren't "cheap"... Especially our cities. Qatar, UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are far cheaper. In fact Saudi Arabia is half as cheap as the US (3). It's more practical to send poor, inexperienced people there. Refugees aren't guaranteed great jobs here. In fact, the US 2.5x as expensive as Syria for people with no jobs or foreseeable future. SA is only 0.5x more expansive. Pakistan is cheaper than Syria. Imagine taking poor people and throwing them into a world that is that much more expansive... It's like telling Americans they can only buy new cars... It'd destroy them.

We agree with that the refugees have it bad, but America be so much better of an escape from crisis. My opponent mentions that accepting refugees into America will increase their quality of life, where as we wonder what kind of quality of life they would have here, under circumstances of worsened discrimination and financial instability.

2. Duty

The resolution of this debate is whether the USFG should take refugees in, and while current events demonstrate that the plan has already been committed, that doesn't show reason for it being the right course of action. While the United States will likely go through with it's plan, our goal is to argue why the plan shouldn't have been made in the first place. However, would the international recourse that our opponent mentions really be so bad? And why should the United States Government value the opinions of international image over the opinions of it's own people, when copious polls seem to demonstrate that the vast majority of Americans not want these refugees? If the recourse was something serious like a world-war, that is one thing. But there are many other countries that do not allow refugees (as my opponent mentioned in his first point) who don't seem to be getting a lot of negative push back from the rest of world for not accepting refugees.

We feel that it is a gross over-exaggeration to say that the USFG would be "spitting in the faces" of the U.N. by choosing to honor it's own citizen's concerns for National Security.

3. Backlash

While we agree that a large part of ISIS success is due propaganda, it doesn't reduce the fact that their is a lot of realism to both their threats, and that scares many people. My opponent mentions this as well however relates a large part of it to being subtle manipulation on ISISS' part to achieve their goals. The quote from his source (30) seems to be an inaccurate read of the situation. Rather than viewing Muslim refugees at a direct threat, Americans realize that it is unnecessary threat. Most people are not voting against having these Muslims in the country because of an understanding that they are "all terrorists".

My opponent lists three ideals that he thinks will benefit from having refugees in the country.

1. "Good treatment undermines propaganda".

What about the bad treatment? As mentioned earlier, it is more likely that that than not many will receive some sort of discrimination based on current events. Even if there was more good than bad, the bad experiences will exist nonetheless, and that is what ISIS would focus on. It's impossible to "undermine" propaganda, when a terrorist group can add spin.

2. "Social Media lends credence to fellow countrymen"

The pro world has a very "Happy go lucky" attitude about refugee treatment, that doesn't display realism in nature. Again with the good stories, there will also be the bad. This nullifies much of the "good" experiences will have. It is also un-realistic to assume this will be taken well from their country men. Hearing a positive story about someone who escaped a civil war into another country, most likely wont effect an "entire country" or even a large part of that country, to the extent of thinking that America and all of it's ideals are suddenly amazing. It is unrealistic because it hasn't worked that way in other countries who accept refugees.

3. "Prevention of radicalization"

There is simply no evidence to support this theory, and if anything, even more so this supports the opposite in light of the San Bernadino massacre. Without direct stories, American's can see how bad it is over there. That didn't stop a couple from being inspired to join up to the cause. Also we are assuming by this logic that, all refugees share a firm singular opinion about the issue, which is very likely un-true.


Debate Round No. 2


Thanks again to Con and let's do this.

1. Crisis

Con drops our arguments. Extend the extensive list of countries that are actively excluding refugees by closing their borders and violently defending them. Extend that the countries that are taking refugees are overburdened already, and that the situation for refugees in those nations is so absolutely desperate that many are returning to Syria. Extend that Syria itself is extremely unsafe due to the civil war, which has led to millions of displaced persons. Extend that these refugees can only take extremely dangerous routes into Europe, resulting in thousands of deaths in transit. And extend that these lives matter, regardless of their country of origin, and that to ignore their plight is to ignore their basic humanity.

That is, fundamentally, what Con is doing. They haven't offered any alternate means of helping them. They've just said that we won't take them.

The competing harms they've presented don't even compare. They have no home, no safety, no stability, nothing but the little they carry with them. To say that potential discrimination and a poor living standard is an upgrade is an understatement: they face violent confrontations with border guards and the lowest of living standards today.

But neither of their claims are correct.

On welcoming refugees,

We presented a source last round that showed that many citizens are willing to open their homes to these refugees.[26] Over a thousand people would welcome these refugees into their homes in direct contradiction to Con's assertions. The so-called "vast majority of Americans" who don't want these refugees to come here is actually 52%, the actual vast majority (~80%) of which are Republicans.[32] That leaves 48%, some 150 million people, who aren't antagonistic to refugee arrival, most of whom are Democrats. As long as the resettlement program takes that into account and settles them in more liberal regions of the country, discrimination will be minimized.

On cost of living,

While Con is correct that the cost of living is much higher in the U.S. than in Syria, that's not a reason to believe that they would be destitute. The vast majority of refugees have obtained jobs and self-sufficiency through the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement's efforts. Refugees are more likely to be employed than Americans, and 69% are self-sufficient after 180 days.[33, 34] Note that this is with successful admissions from Iraq and Burma,[35] and some 40,000 from Bosnia, which has a similar cost of living.[36] Data even indicates that refugees do far better than average in schools, meaning that we are actively raising their standard of living for when they return home.[37] But even if many of them stay poor, the basic support given to the poor in this country is still far better than anything they're going to receive from an almost solidly antagonistic Europe and an egregiously overburdened Middle East.

Lastly, Con talks about 7 countries in which these people could live that are far cheaper. However, Jordan and Lebanon have already taken on way more refugees than they can handle, and the standard of living there is abysmal to the point that refugees are returning to Syria.[19] Jordan's even closed it's borders, as have Qatar, UAE, Oman, and Saudi Arabia have outright refused to take on refugees.[18] Iraq has accepted over 240,000 refugees,[38], but considering that they're also in the midst of major conflicts with the Islamic State, they're hardly a reasonable alternative.[39]

2. Duty

Yes, this is a "should" resolution. That doesn't mean we're traveling back in time to before Obama made the promise and debating about what should have been done at that time. We're debating about what should be done now, and that means that our promises do exist. All "should" tells us is that, if we choose to reject the resolution, we will not take in refugees, but that doesn't mean that the negative response goes away. Just because that reality makes it harder Con doesn't mean that it should be rejected in favor of reversing time.

Our points are ignored. Con drops that the U.S. has more than sufficient capacity and the necessary framework to take on these refugees. They drop that rejecting our self-imposed burdens would send the worst kind of message regarding our views of Syrians: you're all potential terrorists unworthy of the basic human rights we bestow on so many other refugees. It's telling Syrians that we know they're in the most desperate of situations, but we can't be bothered.

But that's just our self-imposed duty. Con just dismisses any international image problem as a non-issue, but ignores the context for why other countries would be upset. The costs of the migrant crisis on Europe are so staggering that the European Union can barely even determine what impact it's having on them. Sweden, which has closed its borders and doesn't require a fence to keep refugees out, is having to raise spending by 0.5% of GDP (roughly $28 billion) just to account for the population they have, their GDP is likely to fall due to widespread unemployment, and wages are set to drop as well.[40, 41] This tremendous stress on labor markets is resulting in mass unemployment among migrants, which is bound to get worse as millions more refugees keep migrating into Europe.[40] We pointed out last round, and Con has dropped, that the refugee crisis is set to tear apart Europe, throwing the economies of all member nations into disarray and recession.[6]

Con's response to all this is "well, does that really matter?" Of course it does! Telling the entire EU that their problems are not our problems, that they must bear the brunt of the refugee crisis, and that we will do nothing to assist them with the vast populations of Syrian refugees is a huge slap in the face when they're going through on the brink of yet another financial collapse. Ignoring the UN's request to even consider accepting these people treats our membership in that international group as purely nominal - after all, why bother listening to the body we helped found and currently lead? Why lead by example, showing other countries that they should accept refugees, when we could look after xenophobic and false personal interests? Con cares only about public perception of the decision to take these refugees, but there's no impact to people being a little upset with the government over a decision they disagree with. There's a substantial impact to telling Europe and the UN that we don't care about their problems.

3. Backlash

When Con concedes that ISIS is successful mainly based on its propaganda, they've already lost this point. Remember, they're actively supporting a system where we exclude every single Syrian refugee, reinforcing statements from people like Donald Trump that all Muslims should be excluded. That's the message that their case sends to the world: you're Muslim, and you're a potential national security threat. It doesn't help that 27% of the country wants to ban Muslims from the U.S.[42] Rejecting refugees would lend credence to the perception that that view controls our national policy.

And that's a message that ISIS would love to spread. It's really easy to do because there's absolutely no counter to it. There aren't people who are being treated well that can contradict it. There is only the negative.

What do we have if we accept some Syrian refugees? Sure, some may be mistreated, but discrimination isn't likely to result in anything dramatic like deaths or beatings, which they face in Europe and the Middle East. Many are likely to be treated well, and every single one of them functions as an example to the contrary. Every Syrian refugee with a job, a roof over their head, food on their plate, and no threat of impending death is an example that ISIS will have to suppress. They will have to work at that, with potentially thousands of stories showing up on social media.

Con doesn't explain why anything in our [30] is inaccurate. It focuses on what kind of messaging the Islamic State is pursuing, mainly how they want the West to be perceived. As a result of the U.S., as Con stated, "honor[ing] it's own citizen's concerns for National Security" and rejecting Syrian refugees, Con is actively feeding the message of prejudice and fear. This will be viewed as the same kind of rampant xenophobia and paranoia that ISIS has sold as being representative of the entire western world.

So when Con talks about our 3 "ideals" (by which they should mean "impacts"), they ignore all of this link structure in an attempt to ignore them. It's still there.

1. Any good treatment is better than none. Good treatment always undermines propaganda, and that is entirely absent in Con's case.

2. It's not "Happy go lucky" to say that over a thousand people would gladly welcome refugees into their homes and that much of the population would not reject them. The messaging can only improve. As for the idea that the U.S. will be just like other countries in their experiences, a) we can easily control the flow of refugees into this country, b) we have a resettlement program with proven results, and c) our economy is far better off than most in the EU.

3. Once again, Con offers you no alternatives. They will allow tens of thousands to continue defecting without doing anything to address the messaging that's causing it. While many of these people may be disdainful of what they perceive as American propaganda, they will be much more likely to listen to first-hand accounts of the violence in the region, and reconsider their decisions. And no, we're not assuming that they share a singular opinion on the issue, just a singular experience: abject terror, the very thing that drove them to flee.



Some Framework issues

To start off our rebuttal, the Con would like to add in some framework that we feel is important to add, which relies mostly on burdens. Reading Pro"s most recent arguments, we are a little shocked to see that he doesn"t understand that our burdens differ. IE, Pro"s is all about the humanitarian aspects of assisting international refugees. They seem to be quite surprised that ours is not, and that we more heavily weigh the values of American Citizens. We thought this went without saying, given that we had repeatedly said we were arguing devil"s advocate in PM"s, and in the comments. Even in our own arguments, we haven"t attempted argue the perilous state of Syrian Refugees. Pro clings to these arguments, however and even had responded pretty aggressively in the previous round, which is a little un-tactful to do in a debate with someone you are arguing with who has the same belief set as you. When you are forcefully jabbing emotional points down the throat of an "adversary" who you know already agrees with you on many specific points, it seems a little unbecoming to be wrongfully accusing the Con of "Dropping points" and saying "extend this, Extend that".

We feel the need to make this exceptionally clear that Pro is attempting to mis-lead the viewers by wrongfully accusing of us dropping points. In fact, we elected to focus the entirety of our arguments on just refuting the Pro in this debate. In fact the arguments that Pro wrongfully accuses us of dropping, are things we agree with ourselves and have said as much in the previous round. We don"t need to make an alternative scenario for refugees, doing so would be counter-productive. By the same logic, we should be creating alternative solutions for all of the worlds hunger, government suppression, and overall lack humanitarian support worldwide. The United States doesn"t have a solution for every third world countries problem in the world, and often times when it thinks it does, it makes things worse. So we ask the Pro now to quit saying that we have a burden to offer a better alternative for Syrian refugees. We acknowledge other alternatives exist for the refugees, whether the conditions are shoddy for them or not. Our main focus for rebuttal will revolve around your arguments on how assisting these refugees benefits the people of the United States, or at the very least your arguments on the United States Foreign policy perceptions.

Lastly, I am going to tell you straight off, if you are a judge and have come into this debate looking to give the win to the debater that best supports the overall state of refugees, don"t read any further. Just give the win to Pro, and don"t waste your time. I accepted this debate under the hope of finding unconventional arguments that you wouldn"t generally expect to see from the typical conservative "Trump" style arguments, rooted in complete ignorance. The fact that the pro keeps relating us to this style of argumentation is extremely annoying. Twice now in the last round, they have put false national security arguments into our mouths. An argument we have never attempted to make. Pro seems to be hoping to have an easy debate hand fisting us ideals and morals that we already agree with, hoping that we are going to take the typical crazed conservative argument and play directly into their ball park. Pro is taking this debate to a Black or White area, which we have no interest in doing. From our perspective it is like we are in a rape debate, where Pro is screaming a bunch of sources for long lasting psychological effects of rape to it"s victim, where we were never saying to begin with that it didn"t have these effects. So if you want to take the debate and instead weigh it on values and arguments (which we do), then please continue reading.

1. Crisis

Pro is taking our argument on financial instability and discrimination out of context, by spinning it to make it sound like these are reasons in and of themselves they shouldn't be allowed in the country. This is wrong. This was a rebuttal to the Pro's point that refugees go through these conditions in the countries they are currently travelling to(Greece, in Europe). Our point is that they will face discrimination here as well, which was the main point.

Pro admits that there is a majority in the United States that does not want refugees in America. Discerning which political parties the majority of these people fall into, is irrelevant in a democracy. The president overriding the majority of the states wishes by accepting thousands of refugees shows the American people that their government doesn't care about their fears and worries (however false Pro thinks those worries are).

However on the Refugee Resettlement program placement of refugees, Pro makes an assumption that they will be placed in specific states or area's where discrimination and hostile and environments don't exist. The Refugee Resettlement program will actually be placing these refugees all over the states however.

They will try to settle refugees closest to family or friend connections, but it doesn't say anything about avoiding states and areas where they may receive discrimination (which would technically be anywhere).

"The most common reason for a refugee to be assigned to a particular place is a personal or family connection" (1)

Even with Pro's argument that refugees will have money from this resettlement program, Pro doesn't elect to tell you that they will have to pay this money back.

After one of the nonprofit resettlement agencies receives the case of a particular individual or family, the International Organization for Migration coordinates their travel to the U.S. city where they will be resettled. The plane ticket is paid for at that time, but after they arrive and begin working, the refugees must pay back the cost of the ticket.

This is assuming that the refugees are able to find good paying jobs to survive on and feed their families. Their housing stipends are meager as well.

Each refugee receives a stipend of about $1,000 to cover their first three months in the U.S.(1)

They have to apply for their own jobs, and while some may get good ones, we have no reason to believe most of these people won't be homeless after three months when they realize they can't continue paying for their apartments. How many of these 10,000 refugees are we going to be homeless after just three months when they cannot afford their housing allowance anymore? Pro's own source (#26) doesn't say how many American's signing a petition to offer there homes, that there actually are. Is that 100, or 1,000? Will it make a difference on the quality of life these refugees have in the states?

Also how will these refugees afford the education that Pro mentions?

We don't want to accuse the Pro of outright lying about his source (33, 34) but his claim was that refugees are more likely to be employed than american's. Nothing in source 33 demonstrates that, in fact any actual evidence, number or statistic seems to be just missing from that link. The closest thing supporting his statement is this "These findings underscore that most refugees become self-supporting over time"a core goal of the U.S. resettlement program."

We have no clue what relevance source 34 has to his statement either. Pro literally seems to be pulling information out of thin air, and linking them to things that don't say what he says they are saying.

2. Duty

We have no clue what Pro is talking about saying that we are debating the concept of going back in time to repeal this. We are debating the reason for it being passed when the majority of American's, and most state governments didn't support the acceptance of this movement. The "should" in this resolution is VERY important. At the moment, however, President Obama's plan has been vetoed by the house an is in a pause.

The bill passed 289 to 137, but still has a steep hill to climb to become law in the face of a presidential veto threat.(2)

Pro makes the rejection of Refugees sound like we are intentionally not wanting to be bothered. Considering we are at war with a group from their country who has committed violent terror acts, is it so surprising that American's fear terrorist action? International image is a non-issue here, as Pro rightfully summarizes are response to. We should be valuing the voices of our own citizens prior to those of other fleeing countries. Syria knows of the current situation we are in with it's country, so why would they be surprised that we repealed the movement to accept refugees? That our president tried to accept them in the first place goes in favor of our foreign policy.

3. Backlash

Running low on characters so this argument will be squished.

In debating ISIS's motivation, Pro refuses to admit their are any realism to ISIS's threat, which is the wrong idea to have about this terrorist organization. There have been attacks in the United States, so their threats are real, and valid. While we are not arguing that refugees are a security threat themselves, that the United States citizens see them as that threat is 100% justified, and treating foreign visitors are a threat first, isn't feeding into ISIS's ideals. People know and have seen what they are capable, and the backlash of letting ISIS think they are winning seems to be a lot less severe than the reality of increasing their abilities to move and operate in the United States, the fear that most Americans currently seem to have.


Debate Round No. 3


Let's start with a few overviews.

OV1) We weren't aware that, when one side decides to play devil's advocate, the other is duty-bound to ignore points they drop. How rude of us to treat this like an actual debate. We recognize that Con is playing devil's advocate, and, while we sympathize with their circumstances, we're not going to handle them with kid gloves just because they took on a difficult argument. It was their choice to take up that side of the debate. They're expected to uphold it, and they're expected to address our points, the same as in any debate.

OV2) This is a policy debate. We were required to, and did, present a policy: the USFG should accept Syrian refugees. It's up to Con to outweigh our impacts on that case, just as it's up to us to outweigh their case. That's the scope of the burdens, and apart from our presenting a case, they're equal. When it comes to a basic question of what action we should engage in, it becomes a comparison of our two worlds. Without comparison, we can't establish net benefits. In our world, we accept refugees. We never said that Con was required to present an alternative, but the fact that they've chosen not to do so means they default to a policy in which the U.S. accepts absolutely no refugees - that upholds their side of the resolution, and assumes nothing else. Con hasn't chosen an advocacy, so this is the one we're weighing against.

OV3) The view that Con is the only side that's weighing this debate based "on values and arguments" is patently absurd. Since the beginning of this debate, we've argued that values based on obligations of recognizing the importance of human life, verbal contract, shared community, alliance, and security are all reasons to affirm. We've presented 3 clear arguments with substantial impacts. Those haven't suddenly vanished.

OV4) Con mischaracterizes much of what we said. Every time we mentioned national security last round, it was in direct reference to statements made by Con. We even quoted them. We didn't make assumptions about the source of those arguments. We just showed how the position Con has relegated themselves to supporting, one where we accept absolutely no refugees into this country, would be perceived, and what effects that perception would have.

Now, we will crystallize the debate and present voters. Con's contentions come down to two major points.

1) Discrimination/Finances

Con argues that refugees will still have problems in the U.S. This only shows that a slight majority of refugees will experience discrimination, and many won't get jobs. Even if that's the case, that's still a far cry better than their current circumstances, where refugees are assured to face violent discrimination and abject poverty with no hope of recovery. So even if you're buying this argument to the largest degree possible, we outweigh.

But let's delve down into the points.

On discrimination,

We argued last round that placing the refugees in more Democratic locations would reduce discrimination. Con presents you with a map of where refugees are settled. Compare that map to the map of large cities in the U.S.:

They just so happen to overlap almost across the board, especially the bigger populations. Almost every city is more liberal, even in conservative states like Texas.[43] The vast majority of placements are also in Democratic states, as many were placed either in the northeast or west. So, thank you to Con for giving us reason to believe that the U.S. government does place individuals in less discriminatory areas.

On finances,

Con either ignores or disregards all of the relevant sources that show just how refugees actually make out. The sole reason that Con provides for their financial instability is that the stipend that they receive from the government isn't big enough.

Three problems.

First, our source 26 actually does say how many Americans offered up their homes: "Hundreds of Americans". That number has likely grown as the number of petition signers continues to increase.[44] That's hundreds of people who could be accepted into this country with absolutely no housing costs, making $1000 over 3 months manageable even if they have no other income.

Second, we showed that refugees are more likely than not to become self-sufficient. Con did a piss-poor job of checking our links. For demonstrating employment, look at the document in [33] under page 5, which directly states the overall percentage of refugees who proportion of refugees employed versus the U.S. population, under page 6, which shows that they rely less and less on public benefit programs, and under page 20, which has all the data supporting those conclusions. For demonstrating self-sufficiency, look at the document in [34] under page 20, which directly states the numbers provided in the debate, pages 28-31, which highlight performance measures of each voluntary agency and state involved in this process. These documents are HIGHLY relevant.

Third, Con drops our argument that, even if they utterly fail to become self-sufficient, the social safety net in this country is much better equipped than anything the refugees currently have access to, which means their circumstances are ALWAYS dramatically improved.

2) Prioritizing Public Views

This is the only competing point Con made: that the wishes of the general public should be paramount. We've argued since R2 that life and quality of life are paramount on the basis of shared humanity and shared community. Con hasn't argued that these lives are of lesser importance than any American lives, they've simply asserted that the government has a duty chiefly to their constituents. They argue that public opinion matters, but they don't provide any reasons to believe that the refugees will produce any negative impacts for the country, nor do they provide any impact to negative public opinion (which is already negative [45]). So this value cannot possibly outweigh the values we've presented.

The duty to adhere to the clearly false views of a paranoid majority of Americans does not outweigh our basic duty as human beings. We have argued that Con is doing more harm than good by adhering to those views.

Now, let's analyze how successful those arguments have bene. Why are you voting for Pro in this debate?

First, you're voting Pro because we provide a tremendous amount of evidence showing that these refugees have nowhere else to go and will endlessly suffer in the absence of assistance from the U.S. or other countries. We provide that assistance. We clearly uphold basic humanitarian values, none of which have been addressed by Con. We save tremendous numbers of lives, and ensure that they return to a decent standard of living.

Second, you're voting Pro because we're the only ones in this debate to explain why the U.S. has a specific duty to any other body, namely other governments. Con says that we no longer have the duty to take 10,000 people, but his own source shows that the Senate will never fall in line with the House to override Obama's certain veto.[46] His promise will continue to stand, and as such other countries will continue to expect that we take on those 10,000 refugees. We're debating policy, and therefore we're debating that policy within the context of what currently exists, and that includes our promises. Con continues to drop the explanation that ignoring that duty threatens our relationships with allied nations, particularly when they're on the brink of financial collapse.

Third, and most importantly, you're voting Pro because we are the only ones addressing a very real threat to the U.S. and its allies, not to mention the very same threat that is perpetuating the civil war that created and is expanding the refugee crisis. That threat is ISIS. Con practically drops this argument in the previous round, so all of that extensive analysis we provided in the last two rounds for:

a) why ISIS is dependent on the success of its propaganda (Con conceded this),
b) why accepting refugees will undercut and degrade that messaging, and
c) why completely excluding refugees will strengthen that same message

becomes extremely important. Our side is the only one working to show the rest of the world that xenophobia, prejudice and paranoia don't define our foreign policy; "treating foreign visitors a[s] a threat first" and as a result spurning them entirely clearly showcases all 3. Our side is the only one addressing the threat of ISIS in any substantial way. Our side is the only one with any chance of addressing the very real and consistent threat of ISIS to other nations in their area and abroad (which includes the U.S. itself). Our side is the only one actively working to prevent defections of impressionable Americans to this terrorist organization. In other words, our side is the only one that requires the U.S. to uphold its most basic burden to its citizens: keep them safe.

All Con has in response to this is the utterly baffling argument that ISIS's "threats [to bring their members in with the refugees] are real, and valid" while simultaneously saying that they "are not arguing that refugees are a security threat themselves"... Are we missing something? Are they trying to argue simultaneously that the refugees will include ISIS agents, and therefore be a threat, and that those same refugees won't be a threat? They haven't justified this point in the slightest, and there is no evidence that ISIS has successfully gotten any terrorists into any nation by this means. So, voters, buy the statement that the refugees are not a security threat, which also contradicts Con's assertions that peoples' fears of those same refugees are "100% justified," and ignore the rest of their unwarranted, unsourced argument that suggests otherwise.

For all these reasons, vote Pro.



First to cover some of the OV's again, Pro continued to falsely accuse us of dropping arguments while at the same time not explaining which arguments we "dropped".

We never said that Con was required to present an alternative,

This is absolutely false. Pro said this multiple times in the debate. Con then compares the lack of offering an alternative to Con sustaining that absolutely no refugees should ever be adopted in the United States. This is an incredible stretch, and very inaccurate. The rebuttal from Con was that these refugees specifically were not wanted for various reasons. Pro's "OV3" was a wasted paragraph on a mis-interpretation of what we said. We didn't say that their side didn't have values, just that value comparison is worthy to judge over "who best serves refugees", in which case we had no interest.

Pro's OV4 fails to site where we made a national security argument, and where they "quoted us". There is a difference between us saying refugees are a national security problem, and us acknowledging that people view refugees as a national security problem, and that their concerns should be heeded.

Discrimination and finances


On our map of where refugees are located at I actually laugh out loud when I read that Pro thinks these areas are all "discrimination free zones" and that they were all liberal. It seems a little naive to make an assumption that places like Salt Lake City Utah are liberal zones.(1)

Or the areas near Tampa and Miami (2), or Oklahoma (3), etc. I could seriously just keep listing out some of these cities that are heavily republican and waste too many sources and character space going over just how wrong Pro is about this map being so liberal. Sure there are liberal areas but that means absolutely nothing to the point we were trying to make with the map, and that is that they are randomly distributed across the states. Also assuming that a pre-dominantly liberal area is going to be safe from any of any republicans who might be discriminatory at all is flawed. But even then all this argument is useless. Discrimination wasn't as big a point for us as Pro is trying to make it out to be. For the second time, the whole purpose for including this point was to counter Pro saying that they are receiving discrimination elsewhere in Greece and Europe. All we were ever trying to say here was that the United States isn't going to be any better. Again this is a rebuttal, not our own point.


Pro claims his source 26 shows a number of petition signers while at the same time AGAIN refusing to quote that number from his source. Pro is putting a lot of faith in imaginary numbers. Saying "hundred" of Americans are offering up there homes is not enough. Hundreds could literally mean 2-300. Obama's plan is to accept 10,000 refugees. Even the fact that less than 1000 of these refugees not having homes is a problem, because they are going to have to rely on this meek stipend to live on. Secondly, this stipend is managed and used for apartment's only, unlike Pro's assumption that they receive it regardless. Referring back to source one from R3, "They ensure the rent will be affordable and are in charge of distributing the stipend to cover the costs of rent for three months. "

It's clear that refugees who are getting housed instead of an apartment will not receive this stipend. However, even if they were, that wouldn't even be touching a tenth of the entirety of the refugees coming into the country. Pro continues to mis-understand the Stipend by assuming that they will be getting 1000$ per month for three months. Did they deliberately misconstrue that so it would benefit them in the final round? Here is the quote again, same source 1 from last round.

Each refugee receives a stipend of about $1,000 to cover their first three months in the U.S.

Pro is practicing the idea of success of these refugees in the states to hope and dreams.
Going back to the mis-presented source (33), it seems Pro also does a "piss poor" job of checking his own source. Let's forgive the fact that they utterly denied to quote specifics from the source, and just picked out the lines that benefited them IE "Refugees are more likely to succeed than American's" part.

"Three out of the ten largest origin groups of refugee men [Burmese, Iraqi, and Somali] had lower employment rates than U.S. Born men"

Pro's own source demonstrates that their are differences based on Origin Groups. For this point to be effective Pro needed to drop specific details on Syrian refugee progression in the states. The fact that a closely related Iraq is mentioned as having lower employment rates than U.S. born men already hurts his point. While we still on this source, I think it is important to mention that on page 6, his own source contradicts his education argument. The source talks about how many refugees have less than a high school diploma education and follows up by saying:

"The U.S. resettlement program's heavy emphasis on getting refugees into jobs quickly may leave little room to support their ongoing education."

Read also:

in 2009-11 more than half of refugees from Somali, Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, and Liberia had household incomes below twice the federal poverty level- versus one third of U.S. Natives".

This is a repeat of an argument we made in round 2 already, but the interesting part is that this is from Pro's own source. You can't just pick and choose what you want to hear from a source. The good comes with the bad, and Pro damages his own case with this one. Even the data he mentions on page 20 includes these details that he thought best left out of his argument. It's called spin when you quote something to manipulate a point. The problem with spin is that is has truth to it, yet ignores many factors.

All of these points aside, let's not forget Pro is advocating giving thousands of dollars in stipends, transportation to the states, and future reliance on benefits (food stamps, unemployment, etc) on homeless people from another country.

On a single night in January 2014, 578,424 people were experiencing homelessness " meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. (4)

According to this source 49,933 of these homeless individuals are veterans, and another 45,205 of these are children. Maybe we should focus on solving our own homeless problems before focusing on housing 10,000 homeless refugees.

Prioritizing Public Views

Pro states that we haven't offered any Negative impacts in having refugees in the country, completely ignoring cost arguments, security perceptions, and and the over-arching violation of democracy arguments. To be clear, the president violating the majority of the countries wishes to adopt a public image, destroys the effectiveness of state sovereignty, and undermines the pre-tense of power anyone might feel they have with their voice in this country. When you directly ignore the wishes of your own country, your facing way bigger problems then putting on a good image for Syria. We are not just adhering to false paranoia, as Pro construes it. We are validating logical and thorough concerns of our own citizens, concerns that are very justified.
He seems focused on saying that we are basically arguing that ISIS is a threat. This is a blatant lie. We said their propaganda and the effects they have on US opinion is real, making us a bad place to place Refugees.

So as Pro did, let's summarize why you are voting Con.

First Pro's sources were terrible. There were numerous occasions where Pro just outright doesn't quote important information from a source, information that you have to dig to find (a 60+ page document inside of a page for example that pro waits until the last round to try and post relevant information for, only to be found that it was contradictory to other information in that source). Pro posts sources that simply don't have the necessary information to back the point he is making (IE, the "hundreds of Americans offering homes" point). Pro posts sources that literally prove little to nothing (IE source 44. First of all what does this source do for your case? Show an underwhelming amount of online signatures supporting acceptance of refugees exists?). If this isn't source spamming, as Pro claims in the comments that it is not, then what is? There were multiple other sources like this in the debate. It detracts from the debate when you post a lot of evidence that isn't really evidence or doesn't serve an important purpose in the debate.

Second, I say without restraint that Pro's conduct was utterly horrible. Between wrongly accusing us of dropping points, mis-construing our burdens, placing false arguments in out mouths, and all the virtual muscle flexing (see OV1), Pro has turned what could have been a fun debate between two people with similar beliefs into a classic black and white debate, which this resolution should be anything but.

We the Con feel we have served the true nature of debate by focusing strictly on the arguments and moving past all the other "bull crap" that didn't need to be in the debate. Further we have properly refuted the resolution by valuing prioritization of the Country itself, while also not stepping into the territory of having to make arguments we don't agree with. In a devils advocate debate, that is an accomplishment.

It is for these reasons we urge the voters to vote Con. While we wish this debate went differently, we still thank the Pro for their time and effort in this debate.


Debate Round No. 4
46 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Midnight1131 8 months ago
Happy to vote. Debates like this one should be getting 3+ votes at least.
Posted by TUF 8 months ago
Thankyou for the good vote midnight, and I think I agree with your overall assessment.
Posted by whiteflame 8 months ago
Thanks for voting, Midnight.
Posted by Midnight1131 8 months ago
RFD 1/2

The main arguments from Pro's side were international image and responsibility, helping out European allies, improved quality of life for the refugees, and ISIS propaganda. Con's argument was focused more on the concern of US citizens, their point being that since a big portion of Americans don't want refugees here, this will make life difficult for the refugees and gives the gov't incentive not to bring any in.

Pro's argument of international image did make an impact, as they showed that the US has a responsibility to both help out European allies, who are reaching their limits in concern to how many refugees they can take. Pro also showed that since the president already made a promise, it would harm the American international image and relations if they were to go back on that promise. The response that Con had to this was that since many Americans don't want refugees in the country, the gov't should obviously prioritize their concerns about security over international image.
Posted by Midnight1131 8 months ago
RFD 2/2

However Con also never shows that the refugees actually pose a security risk, even saying that they personally don't believe they do. Con gives us no reason to believe why the US should shirk international responsibility due to unfounded concerns by about half the population. The practical drawbacks on the international scene outweigh the citizens that will be upset.
Moving on to the propaganda argument. I did not feel that Con was able to successfully refute this. Con sticks to his overarching contention that the American people do have reason to be cautious, due to the threat ISIS poses. However again, Con doesn't prove that ISIS actually presents a threat through the refugees coming in to the country. They say what they said before, the people have a reason to fear refugees, however they cannot prove that these fears are rational. After this it goes down the same way as the international image contention, the practical benefits against ISIS propaganda are not refuted by this.
Another thing that I feel I should address is the argument that refugees will not do too well after they're brought to the US. It was easily shown by Con that refugees do have it tough, however Pro was able to show that it would be a significant improvement over overflowing European and Middle Eastern countries.

So to wrap up, due to the practical benefits of bringing in refugees concerning both international relations and stability and the effect on ISIS propaganda, and the drawbacks of not doing so, I cast my vote to Pro.
Posted by whiteflame 8 months ago
Thursday's going to be a tad late, but I appreciate your taking the time to vote anyway.
Posted by Mikal 8 months ago
Ima vote for real , im off thursday to write it up. That was just a test. Win to white flame though. I just dont have time to complete an rfd till my off day thursday
Posted by Wylted 8 months ago
I reported Mikal's vote, for hate content.
Posted by Wylted 8 months ago
I kinda like the "wars" rule, though it seems hard to accurately assess.
Posted by whiteflame 8 months ago
*sigh* Seriously?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 8 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD IN COMMENTS - This is a vote from the Voter's Union.