The Instigator
SPF
Pro (for)
The Contender
Ozzie
Con (against)

Mass Deportation Policies undermine American Labor

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/25/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 474 times Debate No: 99281
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)

 

SPF

Pro

Alright well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, this seems like a rather timely issue for us to discuss. The first round wil not be part of the debate persay, but it will be the time when I'll define the resolution and provide a standard for judging today's debate. I hope that my opponent will consider my definitions and standard fair, if so, Con can accept my said definitions and standards. If not, then Con is certainly free to explain why the definition/standard isn't fair --although I do hope we don't have a topicality argument.

And now for the definitions:

Mass -- involving large numbers of people. For instance, around 3 million people were deported under Obama, and DACA currently protects around 700,000 youth from being deported.
Deportation -- policies of governments, and in this case, a policy of the United States Government to transport undocumented workers to their countries of origin.

Undermine -- damage or weaken (someone or something), especially gradually or insidiously. [1]

American -- American Nationals

Labor-- in this case labor has less to do with the act of working and more to do with the ability of people to both find employment and to bargain for better compensation.

Standard for judging the debate:
Whichever side can prove greater net benefits to the nonsupporvisory work force of the United States has met the standard for judging today's debate.

nonsupporvisory -- "Nonsupervisory" means that the position being advertised does not have supervisory duties [2]

[1] define undermine
[2] define non supervisory

A note on addressing the economic issue: Although I personally feel that mass deportations are extremely inhumane, I also think that the most persuasive way to oppose these deportations is to point out how they don't only harm the people who get deported, but also, to a different degree, (most) of the people who favor deportation. That being said, debate isn't necessarily about how one feels anyhow.
Ozzie

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
SPF

Pro

It's amusing to note that my opponent just debated a Libertarian Socialist, since one of my favorite debates was one where I was arguing for Libertarian Socialism...

Alright, well, when I speak of undermining American Labor, I mean to say that increasing deportations will cost American workers more jobs, give them less bargaining power, and lead to lower wages than the alternatives of maintaining the status quo or of providing undocumented workers with a path to citizenship.

You see, there are essentially three worlds which we can live in. In one world, which in the short term is likeliest to become a reality, President Trump will deport even more people than President Obama deported. This probably doesn't mean that everyone will get deported, but a larger number of people will.

Another possibility is maintenance of the status quo. Or for the sake of argument, by status quo let's say that people who are currently in the United States by and large remain in the United States. DAPA and DACA wouldn't get repealed and people will be protected by those statutes. Now I know that it's a little more complicated than that -- again, Obama did deport many people himself, so in that sense the same rate of deportation would be the status quo; even so, the increased rate of deportation under Trump which is rather likely will not only be cruel to the people who are getting deported, it will also harm American workers as we shall soon see.

The third possibility, which is unlikely in the short term, but which I do hope will eventually happen, would be comprehensive immigration reform, a path to citizenship.

Each of these worlds get's progressively better, from the first to the last described, for both the undocumented and for the American nationals. Here is why:

Contention 1: The bargaining power of workers to get higher wages/ benefits is positively effected by increased rates of unionization, and lower rates of unemployment.

In other words, the more unionized a firm is, the more likely it is that people in that firm will get higher wages than a less unionized firm. Furthermore, industries that are more unionized than other industries have better paid workers in both union and non-union shops. This is because when the unions push up wages for their workers, other firms have to push up wages to compete for labor, and to keep unions at bay. This is born out by economic studies. For instance, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute:

"Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by about 28%."

and, "Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow. For example, a high school graduate whose workplace is not unionized but whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more than similar workers in less unionized industries." [1]

Furthermore, from the mid 1940s till the late 1970s, the Federal Reserve had a goal of maximizing employment, which it often succeeded at meeting. And while levels of unemployment stayed relatively lower, Unions were stronger, wages were higher, the working and middle classes were doing better, etc. This is because, when unemployment is lower, the bargaining power of workers tends to be higher -- the less afraid somebody is of getting fired and being unable to find a new job, the more willing that person is to push for a better wage, either at the individual level or through a union, at the collective level. [2] (a study which analyzes the wage effects of lower unemployment, though not specifically those effects from the 40s-70s)

Moreover, during that same time, the floor on wages, the minimum wage, correlated to higher wages for everybody.[3] As productivity went up, the minimum wage went up at roughly the same rate, and so did average wages. However, the minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.68 in 2016 dollars, and by 1973, average pay and average productivity began to diverge: nowadays productivity is much higher than compensation. [4]

Contention 2: Fear of deportation leads to lower wages for the undocumented and in turn, for American nationals:
Now, you may ask, what does any of this have to do with immigration? Well, let's return to the three worlds.

It is true that undocumented workers tend to get paid less than American nationals, however, the question which our immigration policies determine is really a question of how much less. You see, when there is greater fear of deportation, it is much easier for employers to exploit undocumented workers -- if you want the higher wage, or to unionize or go on strike, those efforts can be broken by ICE agents who can put you in a detention center, or worse, deport you. Now, this does not just mean lower wages for those undocumented workers who stay in this country, it also means, as we can observe from contention 1, that when the wage floor is lower, wages for most middle and lower income people go down. When unionization rates are higher in any given industry, that means wages tend to be higher in both the unionized and non union shops -- it stands to reason that the reverse is the case when unionization rates are lower, and one powerful incentive to reduce unionization rates would be deportation.
But what if EVERYBODY get's deported, you may ask (without even thinking of the terrible humanitarian impacts).
Well, first of all, even under President Trump this seems unlikely and highly unfeasible. We're talking about 11 to 13 million people, many of whom have children who are citizens. The most likely scenario is that mass deportations will increase, directly harming the deported, causing those who stay to fear for their livelihoods and their ability to continue to stay, a lower floor on wages, and lower wages for American nationals.

Contention 3: Outsourcing is more harmful to domestic wages and employment than undocumented labor

Not only does fear in American labor markets cause wages to go down. When undocumented immigrants are deported, the labor pools of developing countries, especially in Mexico and Central America increase. Whereas, even the undocumented workers in the informal American Economy may get paid around 4 dollars an hour, the minimum wage in Mexico is around 4 dollars and 25 cents a day (and it recently went up). Now, you have to ask yourself if you'd rather have somebody making 4 dollars and 25 cents an hour or a day? And, when you ask that, keep something else in mind: in a world of free capital movements and trade, it is quite easy for Multinational Corporations to ship jobs overseas. The more people who get deported, the more people can be hired at even lower wages -- indeed, at abysmally low wages, by American based Multinational Companies. For American labor, this is the difference between getting told, you might not want to push for higher wages because we can pay someone 4 dollars an hour, or getting told, you might want to accept the pay cut because we can pay the same person 4 dollars a day. It's the difference between being employed and unemployed, higher wages and lower wages.

Contention 4: The best of the three worlds is dismissed as "amnesty"
If undocumented workers can come out of the shadows, start their own businesses, join labor unions, bargain for higher wages, that won't only be better for them, it would be much better for American workers. This would mean higher employment, higher consumption, higher unionization and (another thing I'll address in greater detail in round 2) more revenue for social services.

To be clear, my burden of proof is to demonstrate that deportation harms wages and employment for American nationals, but I can go one better and demonstrate that a path to citizenship would be helpful -- extra credit ...

[1]:http://www.epi.org...
[2]https://www.dissentmagazine.org...;
[3] http://www.pewresearch.org...
[4]http://www.epi.org...;
Ozzie

Con

I should start off by saying this debate is solely about how deportation will affect the jobs of American citizens, and any arguments that revolve around the morality or rationality of deporting illegal immigrants are irrelevant (in this debate, but definetly not in real life!). This is quite a sensitive issue on which many people will have strong opinions but I trust voters will vote for the whoever delivers a better case on this specific issue. (And no extra credit on that path to citizenship, sorry :/ )
Also, seeing as the Trump deportation situation will almost definitely happen my arguments will assume this is the case throughout the debate..

First there are some holes in Pro's argument that I'll address:

"Contention 1: The bargaining power of workers to get higher wages/ benefits is positively effected by increased rates of unionization, and lower rates of unemployment."
Unions have brought up wages and working conditions, and will always continue to do so. Pro assumes that taking away illegals would make the Unions less powerful which just isn't true. Undocumented workers can't become a member of an organisation because there names would go on record. If you think about the mindset of these people, the reason they risked detention to get across the border wasn't so they could start fights with their employers. And if they did, their influence would be zero- if they demanded more or threatened strikes or disobedience their employer could simply dangle the fact that they are criminals under American law over their heads. Illegal workers don't take part in union activity, and if they did they wouldn't be much use. Besides, it would definetly not be in their interests to do so.

"Contention 2: Fear of deportation leads to lower wages for the undocumented and in turn, for American nationals"
This one confused me (although that might have something to do with the fact that I've been on a plane since 3 in the morning). From what I understand Pro is when Unions rage the wage floor it has a knock-on effect to all employees. Like I said in the previous paragraph, illegal immigrants don't participate in Union activity. Therefore wage growth and Union progress won't be hampered by deportation.



I hate to break out Trump rhetoric but when Mexico sends it's people over the border, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs, etcetera. Like it or not, illegal immigrants are criminals (hence the name). The US doesn't owe anything to people who aren't her citizens, especially people who have broken the law to get there, regardless of their situation. America grants around 50,000. citizenships to Mexicans every year, which, to state the obvious, is a lot of people. That's all I've got to say for now. Deporting illegal immigrants will not undermine American labour.
Debate Round No. 2
SPF

Pro

Let me first address the issue of "extra credit". I mentioned extra credit towards the end of my round because I didn't have enough space to explain what I meant. Now, we're debating the economic effects of a plan, namely Trump's planned immigration policy. In any such debate, the person arguing against that plan could present a counter-plan to demonstrate the opportunity costs of the plan. In other words, when I'm talking about a path to citizenship, I do so to demonstrate that there is a policy which could help working people, from the undocumented to the citizens whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower -- in the case of citizenship vs. deportation, we're talking about policies that are mutually exclusive. You simply cannot grant American citizenship to somebody while you are in the process of deporting the same person. I need to prove that deportation is harmful to the working/middle classes, on it's own, but in addition to that I'll also show you why reform is a much better option.

That beng said, let's look at Con's arguments:
" Illegal workers don't take part in union activity, and if they did they wouldn't be much use. Besides, it would definetly not be in their interests to do so."
Well, that would be news to undocumented workers who have joined unions including United Here and the Union of Farm Workers. [1] Now, while joining a Union, as Con agrees, tends to raise one's wage, and while that does certainly mean that all things being equal, when migrant laborers join a union that would be in that person's interest, the main issue with doing so was spelled out by Con.

" And if they did, their influence would be zero- if they demanded more or threatened strikes or disobedience their employer could simply dangle the fact that they are criminals under American law over their heads." Well, yes, so long as undocumented workers do not have a path to citizenship, their status has been and will be used against them. People who want a fair living wage for a fair day's work can be threatened with detention and deportation. As deportations increase, the coercive power of such threats will likewise increase. And this will mean lower wages for those undocumented immigrants who don't get deported. And in various sectors, American nationals will be competing with even lower wages due to this -- and it'll have ripple effects throughout the economy/labor market.

"I hate to break out Trump rhetoric but when Mexico sends it's people over the border, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs, etcetera. Like it or not, illegal immigrants are criminals (hence the name). The US doesn't owe anything to people who aren't her citizens, especially people who have broken the law to get there, regardless of their situation. "


See, the thing about this rhetoric is, that's all it is. And by Con's own standards, it doesn't have any bearing on this debate: "I should start off by saying this debate is solely about how deportation will affect the jobs of American citizens, and any arguments that revolve around the morality or rationality of deporting illegal immigrants are irrelevant (in this debate, but definetly not in real life!)." Trumpian statements like they aren't bringing their best, or illegal immigrants are criminals or the US doesn't owe anything to people who aren't her citizens are all moral judgements. I don't have to address them because they are moral judgements and because with one exception that comes to mind, (which I will address) they don't have any effect on the jobs or wages of American workers. However the perception that the undocumented are all "criminals" does definitely need to be addressed.

A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that immigrants have one fifth the incarceration rate of the native born. [2]
As for drugs, yes it is true that cartels are bringing in drugs, but the people who they smuggle are generally good hardworking people. Even when Trump builds his wall (not that this is part of the debate but while we're discussing smuggling i might as well point this out) the Cartels will do something they have already been doing, which is using tunnels beneath the wall. About 40% of undocumented immigrants got a visa, and wind up staying after the visa expired.

Point being, stigmatizing undocumented immigrants as "criminals" is not only unfair and harmful to them, but it also has nothing to do with jobs and wages, which is what this debate is about; con agrees that it is.

Now, I've addressed Con's rebuttal of my first two contentions -- which was essentially the same argument: the undocumented don't join unions, even though many do, and many more will if they have a path to citizenship. This won't only mean higher wages for them, but also higher wages for everyone else -- a stronger labor movement will benefit working people from all backgrounds.

I've addressed Con's rhetorical argument. Now, if you're keeping score, one of my contentions has gone completely unaddressed (Contention 3). Not only do increased deportations mean lower wages for the people who stay, but they mean even lower wages for people working in the Maquiladoras of Northern Mexico. Since they were created in 1964, the Maquiladoras have had plenty of US investment -- many American Multinational Corporations moved production to these factories where they pay lower wages and where they don't have to worry nearly as much about pollution or the health of workers getting exposed to chemicals. This has been going on long before NAFTA. The more deportation, the more off shoring, the more outsourcing. Look, we can make moral judgements about "criminality" or "what we owe"(which is also quite specious considering that the undocmented pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits, an issue I'll get to in a moment) till the cows come home, but it doesn't change the fact that these cruel policies will backfire when American jobs are shipped South of the Border. That won't only mean fewer jobs, this will also mean less leverage -- the threat of outsourcing will probably be used more when there are hundreds of thousands or (God forbid it, though it is more likely) millions more people who can work in those jobs.

I have one more contention, and since it isn't sporting to introduce arguments in round 3, this'll be the last one I use in the debate.
Contention 4: The fiscal costs of deportation are large, and they will be borne by America's working class.

Not only do the cruel processes of detention, and deportation cost a lot of money (not to mention the Wall which, granted, isn't part of this debate) but we will lose a lot of revenue. This is because, many undocumented immigrants pay taxes, and are simultaneously ineligible for various benefits. Don't take my word for it (in fact, you probably won't, since the myth of immigration draining the Treasury is so pervasive) just look at the evidence:
"Non-citizen immigrant adults and children are about 25% less likely to be signed up for Medicaid than their poor native-born equivalents and are also 37% less likely to receive food stamps, according to a 2013 study by the Cato Institute." That's the CATO Institute, a conservative think tank saying this. The undocumented pay about 15 billion dollars a year to the Social Security fund, without ever expecting to collect benefits. 10.6 billion in local/state tax. We'd be losing more revenue than we spend, and someone will have to bear the brunt. It won't be the military -- defense spending is going up, it won't be the rich -- taxes are going down -- the money will ultimately come from Social Security and other programs that help workers.

On the other hand, a 2013 study by the CBO found Immigration Reform would give us a budget surplus of $175 billion. [3]




Sources:

[1]https://thinkprogress.org...;
[2]http://www.nber.org...
[3]http://money.cnn.com...

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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by SPF 11 months ago
SPF
Ozzie, that's great -- please tell us this -- and more, in your arguments. If you forfeit the round the debate is over.
Posted by Ozzie 11 months ago
Ozzie
When I said illegal immigrants were criminals, I didn't mean they commit more non-immigration related crimes than your average citizen, but that every single one of them breaks US law the moment they cross the border. As I'm sure you know it's illegal to take up residence and/or work without the correct visa or citizenship. Furthermore, you can't just stroll across the border and not let authorities know you've entered the country. A person that brakes the law is a criminal, it's as simple as that.
Posted by SPF 11 months ago
SPF
Oh, when I said it wouldn't be sporting to introduce an argument in round 3, I meant in round 4. Generally the last round in a debate shouldn't have new arguments, and I'm so used to 3 round debates I forgot the last round'll be 4. Anyhow
Posted by ShaunTakesOn 11 months ago
ShaunTakesOn
There is a large amount of Americans and legal immigrants needing and wanting work. Deporting illegals will free up those jobs for the people who are here legally. The only people who lose anything are the illegals (which they deserve for breaking the law) and the business owners who will have to pay decent wages since Americans usually won't accept wages as low as illegals will.
Posted by SPF 11 months ago
SPF
I mean fewer workers and lower wages.
Posted by Ozzie 11 months ago
Ozzie
What do you mean by undermine, in relation to employment? Fewer workers? More expensive labour?
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