The Instigator
lambda
Con (against)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
Ore_Ele
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points

Border Fence (Mexican Border), Pro or Con?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
Ore_Ele
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/30/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 22,075 times Debate No: 11027
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (6)
Votes (8)

 

lambda

Con

The possibility of building a fence or wall along the entirety of the United States-Mexico border is a proposed solution to the US problem with illegal immigration, however, I believe that such an undertaking is not only physically ridiculous but would also be a negative reflection upon the United States symbolically.

1. Physically the fence/wall would need to cover 1,951 miles/3,141 km of territory including cities and deserts. A wall of this length would require an enormous amount of effort and funds to build that could be used in a much better manner.

2. There are already barriers in the zones containing the largest concentration of illegal immigration and it would be a waste to continue such a project across inhospitable terrain like the Sonoran desert which already poses a serious deterrent (50 miles of inhospitable terrain, tragically many migrants attempt to cross the border through the Sonoran desert resulting in thousands of deaths).

3. Is illegal immigration such an issue that the United States must undertake such a ridiculous feat to gain better chances at stopping it? I do not believe that the expense is justified considering the state of the economy and the massive national debt.

4. Environmentally such a fence would disturb a large natural habitat by essentially cutting it in two. If the fence is built to effectively keep people out that it would probably serve to keep many animals from crossing the border during their natural movements.

5. Finally I believe that the fence would symbolize more than just honest US attempts to halt illegal immigration. For clarification, I personally do not support illegal immigration but I think that the fence/wall would become a manifestation of American nativism and discrimination against Mexicans and even just immigrants in general. It would reflect poorly on the US if it were to build such a fence that is so ominously similar to the Berlin Wall. Although this may not be a very concrete argument against the fence I think that the connotation that the fence would create is important to consider.

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Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Ore_Ele

Pro

If you look at my profile and my "BIG issues" you'll see that I support a border fence, but only so long as it is a part of a larger immigration reform, and that I don't support the fence as a stand alone solution.

I will first argue PRO's points then present my own.

"1. Physically the fence/wall would need to cover 1,951 miles/3,141 km of territory including cities and deserts. A wall of this length would require an enormous amount of effort and funds to build that could be used in a much better manner."

There is currently 10% unemployment in this country [1]. So there is a large labor force that is looking for work to do that we can use to help build this. And they will be happy to have work and be making money so that they can feed their families. Now this might be their ideal jobs, of course, but to many, it will be better then nothing.

"2. There are already barriers in the zones containing the largest concentration of illegal immigration and it would be a waste to continue such a project across inhospitable terrain like the Sonoran desert which already poses a serious deterrent (50 miles of inhospitable terrain, tragically many migrants attempt to cross the border through the Sonoran desert resulting in thousands of deaths)."

A wall will on add to the protection. 50 miles of desert is not that difficult to one with a vehicle that has 4x4. A wall will stop the vehicle and may also stop some of the wasted attempts that ends live (though still waiting on a source for that other then wiki).

"3. Is illegal immigration such an issue that the United States must undertake such a ridiculous feat to gain better chances at stopping it? I do not believe that the expense is justified considering the state of the economy and the massive national debt."

Looking at what happened to the Native Americans, I fully believe that controlling what comes in and what goes out from our borders is extremely important to the future success and safety of this nation. How many millions are here illegally leaching off of our society and government? That would be millions (most say around 10 - 15 million) [2]

"4. Environmentally such a fence would disturb a large natural habitat by essentially cutting it in two. If the fence is built to effectively keep people out that it would probably serve to keep many animals from crossing the border during their natural movements."

This argument should be dropped by CON. Since most all of the animal wild life in this area are rather small, it would be easy to make the fence have holes that small animals can get through that human's cannot. I will leave it at this for now (on this argument), but if CON wishes to continue this point, I will further debate it.

"5. Finally I believe that the fence would symbolize more than just honest US attempts to halt illegal immigration. For clarification, I personally do not support illegal immigration but I think that the fence/wall would become a manifestation of American nativism and discrimination against Mexicans and even just immigrants in general. It would reflect poorly on the US if it were to build such a fence that is so ominously similar to the Berlin Wall. Although this may not be a very concrete argument against the fence I think that the connotation that the fence would create is important to consider."

Unless we are putting gun towers with snipers (which we are not) then I don't see how this is similar to the Berlin Wall. Also, giving that the BW was to keep people in, not to prevent outsiders from getting in. As for the image that it may or may not allude, we want to encourage people to come legally and honestly, not illegally and sneakily.

The reason that a border fence is needed is because it is vital that we control who and what comes into our country, and if not "control" at least be aware of it. If we do not know what is coming in, then we cannot protect ourselves from it, in case protection is needed. The illegal immigration issue is one that needs to be addresses, as my opponent has stated ("I personally do not support illegal immigration...").

The way to solve this is by using the PRO/CON (similar to a supply and demand chart). We need to take action that makes coming legally more appealing and coming illegally more unappealing. A wall fits into this equation and if we adjust the amount of people we allow legally and the speed at which we can process them, the wall will work wonders on the preventing side to help funnel people to legal access.

For more on this and my opinion, refer to [3] were I detail it more.

[1] http://www.bls.gov...
[2] http://www.cis.org...
[3] http://oreeleblog.blogspot.com... (yes, this is my blog, and not someone else.
Debate Round No. 1
lambda

Con

To begin I thank my opponent for his well thought out and presented arguments. I will simply counter his arguments and present new ones. I will split my rebuttal into economic/logistical arguments and political/symbolic arguments. Additionally I will drop the environmental argument because it is not very important in comparison.

1. The fact still remains that the fence would need to cover 1,951 miles/3,141 km which makes the task truly monumental. In addition the actual land that it is being built on includes deserts and cities. The deserts primarily present logistical problems. Although it would certainly not be impossible to build in the desert it would certainly be hard considering that there are few to no roads for vehicles carrying construction materials, the heat would make construction slow and workers would be at risk of heat stroke and over exposure. The presence of cities along the planned construction route also presents problems. Such division would cause problems; for example if the fence were built it would cut through the University of Texas-Brownsville leaving a portion of the campus on the Mexican side. The fence would even put the District office of Democratic Texas Rep. Ryan Guillen on the Mexican side. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says in reference to communities straddling the border, "These are communities where you have a border going through them, they are not communities where you have a fence splitting them."
The fence would even hurt local economies. For example the fence would split The Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge hurting the region's poorest residents who rely on a $125 million a year eco-tourism industry. In addition according to the Washington Times "U.S. businesses on the border rely on Mexicans to cross into the United States daily to buy goods, usually paying with cash. Mexican nationals account for more than $2.3 billion a year in retail spending on the U.S. side of the border, about 27 percent of the total retail trade." Now I must address the argument that the fence would create jobs. I have to concede that the building of the fence would in fact create jobs but I don't believe that fact alone justifies the building of the fence. Although the national unemployment is at 10% the unemployment rates for three out of four of the border states (Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico), also the states comprising most of the border, ranges from 4.7 to 6.6 percent. On top of this is the fact that the unemployed do not all live so close to the border and inarguably the border states are large, making the task of assembling the required work force another difficult feat. In all if you weigh the effects on the regional economy, regional communities and the sheer expense and difficulties required in building the fence with the employment benefits it might create the fence is wholly unjustified.

2. Also important to consider is the consequence in Mexico-US relations that will result in the building of the fence. According to USA Today "Mexico [warns] that the U.S. proposal to build miles of border fence will damage relations between the two countries." The Mexican Foreign Relations Department continued saying "These measures will harm the bilateral relationship. They are against the spirit of co-operation that is needed to guarantee security on the common border" and are "A partial measure that is exclusively focused on security does not deal with reality and represents a political answer rather than a viable solution." Such a unilateral measure as building the fence would damage relations with Mexico whose cooperation is very important in securing the US border and it will "increase tension in border communities." Both of these effects of the border fence should be inarguably avoided. As already mentioned the building of the fence would have symbolic effects on top of the negative political effects already mentioned. In the United States there exists discrimination and bigotry towards Hispanics, specifically Mexicans, I for example hear people in my school call them "beaners" and "fence jumpers" which is especially disturbing considering they live in New York and probably don't interact very often with Mexican migrants. For an example of this racism watch the video at the top . Subsequently I believe that such a fence would become a manifestation of American bigotry and nativism. To clarify I am NOT accusing my opponent of being either nativist or racist but I do believe that the fence would be viewed symbolically that way. Anything that is built to unilaterally keep people out will immediately and inherently convey this. I used the example of the Berlin Wall which was, interestingly enough, used by Mexican President Vicente Fox who called the wall "shameful." My opponent mentioned that the Berlin Wall was meant to keep people in while the fence would be meant to keep people out. Isn't the use of "in" and "out" relative? While we are keeping them out of our country we are keeping them in Mexico. My opponent also mentioned that the fence would not be so militarized as the Berlin Wall but I do not believe that is the point. The fence could be defended by tanks, or it could be defended by security guards with little weaponry but the fact still remains that the fence is a symbol of division and isolationism which reflects poorly on the United States. Summarily I believe that the creation of the fence would greatly hurt our relationship with our southern neighbor and only heighten the tension on the border. Additionally I believe that in a symbolic sense the fence would become a symbol of American isolationism rather than an honest attempt to stop illegal immigration. For these reasons I think that the building of the fence is ultimately unjustified.

Before I conclude my rebuttal I think it is important to mention what I would propose as an alternative. I agree with my opponent when he says "We need to take action that makes coming legally more appealing and coming illegally more unappealing." However I disagree with him on how the fence "fits into this equation." The wall I think does not address fully the issue of illegal immigration, I think that what is needed is greater immigration reform to make it easier for Mexicans to legally immigrate to the US. The fence presents a unilateral solution that I think is far too damaging to Mexico-US relations. I think that Americans should be proud that their country is so appealing and provides so much hope that people risk their lives trying to cross into it to work. Consequently Americans should encourage immigrants to migrate legally and welcome them in the spirit of Emma Lazarus' sonnet "The New Colossus:"

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I thank my opponent for his participation and the civility of his arguments.

Sources
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http://www.usatoday.com...
http://www.washingtontimes.com...
http://www.bls.gov...
http://blogs.usatoday.com...
http://www.seattlepi.com...
Ore_Ele

Pro

1.a) "The fact still remains that the fence would need to cover 1,951 miles/3,141 km which makes the task truly monumental." While 1,951 miles does sound like a truly monumental task to any single individual, it is, in fact not that much for our nation as a whole. In the US we have 3.9 million miles of public roads and 120,000 miles of major rail ways [1], all of which was built and is maintained by the US government. So compared to what we've done in the past, this is not close to impossible. Also, we need to consider that all those roads that we've constructed, go through a lot more wear and tear (because they have weathering AND cars and trucks driving on top of them), so it is reasonable to say that a wall would not need as much maintenance as a highway of the same length.

1.b) "The fence would even put the District office of Democratic Texas Rep. Ryan Guillen on the Mexican side." this is only sited by my opponent's 4th link, a blog posted 2 1/2 years ago. And this is only true based on a proposal, not based on the actual borders of the countries. Ryan Guillen's office is actually located in the US [2]. The same thing applies to the university that was mentioned. It is a simple fix to actually build the fence on the actual border, rather then the old proposal from over 2 years ago.

1.c) "...according to the Washington Times 'U.S. businesses on the border rely on Mexicans to cross into the United States daily to buy goods, usually paying with cash.' " This is true, there are many communities that rely on mexicans as customers. And this is easily solved adjusting the style of fence (you don't need the same kind of fence in the middle of the dessert, as you do just outside a city) and by allowing ID cards that allow for border immigration, which is only allowed to mexicans that are also living in border towns and cities, that allows them legal access to other border towns and cities. Granted, there will still be some effect on economies, it is impossible that there will be none. However, it will not completely kill the entire industry, and the good that is done is much more helpful then the minimal negative impact.

1.d) "...also the states comprising most of the border, ranges from 4.7 to 6.6 percent." Allow me to repost the same link that my opponent referenced [3]. It shows that they unemployment was 4.7 - 6.6% in 2008. But 12 months later it was 8.3 - 9.1% with a few cities in the 10% range. I still hold that there is high unemployment. I don't not disagree that this employment is short term. However, even short term work is better then no work at all, both for the individuals and for the country (should they be working to improve our country to earn a paycheck? Or sitting at home doing nothing getting tax dollars?) Also, the same link [3], shows that there are almost 1 million people unemployed. That is far more then enough workers to complete the project, by a long shot.

2.a) My opponent claims that this will damage our image and make us appear like isolationists. I would have to disagree to a degree. Since this only effecting illegal immigration and not legal immigration, it is not isolationist at all. Now if we were stopping or further limiting the amount of legal immigration, that would be a step towards isolationism, but protecting from illegal immigration is not, especially if the wall is coupled with expanding the amount of legal immigration. Now if others still view it that way, I'm sorry that they don't really know what isolationism is, and in all likelihood, they are not really believing that it is isolationism, it is just something that they don't want to happen and are calling it names. The typical politics game.

2.b) "In the United States there exists discrimination and bigotry towards Hispanics, specifically Mexicans..." I live in Oregon, in the Portland metro area. A suburb to the west of portland, called Hillsboro, is a large mexican population (also in Beaverton and Aloha, but mostly in Hillsboro), granted, it is not as much in Texas, or southern Cali, or any other border state, but we still see the racism a lot there (much more so then against african americans, because of the population). Those that harbor racist feelings will be racist regardless of what we do. If the government does something that is "positive" towards mexicans, racism emerges. If the government does something that is "negative" towards mexicans, racism emerges. If the government does nothing at all, racism emerges. (Please note that I'm not saying that everyone that speaks for or against any policies are racist, but that racists will jump into the mix).

In conclusion, there is plenty of people that would be able to work on the project to make money. The task, although large, is not unheard of nor impossible. My opponent has not attacked the actual usefulness of the wall, only the logistics and implications of building one. We know that a wall will prevent people from driving across the border through the dessert and it will also greatly impact the amount of drugs being smuggled in (it will not stop them all, of course, only limit them), thus allowing the police to focus their efforts and allow them to not need so much funding. This tied with increasing the limit on legal immigration will greatly help pointing potential immigrants to making the right choice to come legally. And the wall is a crucial part of that equation.

[1] http://www.nationalatlas.gov...
[2] http://www.house.state.tx.us...
[3] http://www.bls.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by itsandyroo2 6 years ago
itsandyroo2
In my opinion, I would have thought that con had a stronger arguement. Hopefully, the Wikipedia issue did not affect the outcome, because he had valid sources on the second round.
Posted by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
Ore_Ele
While Wiki is a decent source on somethings, I find that it isn't good on controversial issues, due to the "can be edited at any time."

In those cases, I recommend actually using the same sources that wiki uses. Since you'll see that Wiki may say something like "X% of abortions are medically needed [1]" you can actually go down to the [1] source and use that instead of wiki. That is just my personal opinion.
Posted by Grape 7 years ago
Grape
Wikipedia is acknowledged as a source.
Posted by lambda 7 years ago
lambda
Thats strange since it clearly says in round two that I used:
http://www.usatoday.com......
http://www.washingtontimes.com......
http://www.bls.gov......
http://blogs.usatoday.com......
http://www.seattlepi.com......

I hope that I didn't lose because people are too lazy to read past the first round.
Posted by Rockylightning 7 years ago
Rockylightning
con's only sources are wikipedia; wow
Posted by Koopin 7 years ago
Koopin
This was close
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Vote Placed by curious18 7 years ago
curious18
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lambda
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