The Instigator
Intellicast414
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
KevinL75
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Should Immigration be a State issue?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,139 times Debate No: 363
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (7)

 

Intellicast414

Pro

Immigration is an issue that is very important to America today. Words like Fence and Wall ring throughout the halls of Congress and the American Home. There is no doubt that Immigration needs to be taken control of, and Illegal Immigration must be stopped, or at least minimized. But the question is: Should the States take care of the issue, or should the Federal Government fix it?

I believe it should be the States. Coming from Texas, a Border State, I feel I have more understanding of the issue than someone from, perhaps, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, or any other Northern state that does not have any experience with the issue. These decisions are made in Washington D.C., which is very far from either border. I feel it should be left to the States, who are experiencing the issue first-hand.

Let me give you an example. There has been a lot of ruckus from Senator Edward
"Ted" Kennedy (D-Mass), who is pushing for Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants. I believe this comes from his pure ignorance on the issue, as he is from, again, a state that does not have any experience with the issue. Also, in the Presidential Election, politicians like Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani talk about all they did for the Immigration issue, even though both of them don't know as much as a Border State politician would, like Ron Paul from Texas or Duncan Hunter from California.

I believe that many of the leaders who are making the decisions that decide the fate of the issue are not experienced and qualified enough to make those decisions. I believe the Federal Government should not make a fence or a wall, but that any construction on the borders should be led by the State.
KevinL75

Con

I find several faults with the argument you're presenting, the first of which is more philosophical. You seem to be claiming that individuals who have not experienced a problem first hand are inherently unqualified to address that problem. This may be true in individual cases, but I believe that you would have to present evidence to support your claim in each of those individual cases.

On the whole, individuals who have not experienced problems first hand could be just as able to offer relevant and effective solutions as those who have. If this were not true, the President of The United States, for example, would be unqualified to make many of the decisions he or she must make every day - is a straight Caucasian President not qualified to sign a hate crimes bill into law?

In addition to my philosophical objection to your argument, I believe that allowing individual states to each create immigration policy within their own borders would lead to an uneven policy with regard to border security. For example, the citizens of Texas may choose to erect a 10-foot high fence with security cameras running 24-7 along its entire border with Mexico, while Montana may choose to stop policing its border with Canada at all, and focus its resources elsewhere.

The dangers associated with illegal immigration affect the entire nation, not just individual states. Perhaps the federal government should consult more with border states on immigration policy, but if states are left to do the governing wall-to-wall (no pun intended), it could potentially leave the United States extremely vulnerable.

After all, the U.S. is one country, and the borders between states aren't really borders at all - why should border states be allowed to decide policy that will affect other states, and the country as a whole?
Debate Round No. 1
Intellicast414

Pro

Yes, we are One United States, but we are large country.

Take this into perspective: You live in a large neighborhood. Does it make sense for someone down on the other end of your street to tell you what you should do to secure your home? After all, they are further down the street and don't know what it's like in your part of the neighborhood.

I believe it's a state issue because it's something every state does not go through, only certain ones. I don't believe someone from California should tell a Texan how to keep safe from a Tornado, simply becaus they don't experience them. Same with Immigration. Other American cities might have illegals in them, but they do not experience the full force of the problem. I would not be in position to tell Montana or Washington State how to secure their borders because I do not know what it's like up there. The tactics that work there might not work here. If the Federal Government constructs a wall that is alike in all parts of the Borders of the US, they will not be making a smart move, as they will not be addressing the problem as it exists, they will take one example from one place and assume it works everywhere.
KevinL75

Con

You said: "I would not be in position to tell Montana or Washington State how to secure their borders because I do not know what it's like up there."

You're right that you're not in an ideal position to tell a northern border state how to secure its borders. Someone from a non-border state altogether might be in an even worse position. But can we at least agree that the federal government should be in a position to tell every border state that it must secure its border somehow? I want to be clear whether you're arguing that each state should be able to set its own immigration policy, or whether each state should be given the discretion to carry out federal immigration policy as best suits that state's needs?

We've got another 3 rounds, so I say let's clarify that, and go from there!
Debate Round No. 2
Intellicast414

Pro

Yes, the Federal Government can take a position to tell the Border States that they should secure the borders, but they should not tell them how to do it. Secure Borders is a common sense issue. But, because of the politicians who are pushing forward legislation like Comprehensive Immigration Reform, The Federal Government is holding the states (Especially Texas) from doing anything to secure the borders safely. We can only do what the Feds will allow us to do.

I hope this cleared this issue up for you.
KevinL75

Con

That definitely cleared things up!

Once again I'd like to say that immigration is a national problem, and it only makes sense that it has a national solution. It seems counter-intuitive to me to not allow for input from elected representatives from all states on an issue that invariably affects the entire country.

Perhaps Texas does have a good solution to the immigration problems along the Texas border - maybe it's better for Texas than a national solution would be. But implementation and planning by Texas would likely focus on Texas-only problems. What happens when an illegal immigrant migrates from Texas to Oklahoma, or anywhere else in the country?

I don't accept the premise that immigration is only an issue for the states with borders. It's certainly an issue of national security, and it's also an issue for any state in the U.S., because all individuals in the U.S. have the freedom to be mobile. By excluding input from non-border states, we would be creating the potential for border states to address only problems specific to their state, ignoring problems posed to others.

I'm also not entirely convinced that every border state is as committed to securing borders as a state like Texas - without leadership on the federal level, I actually doubt that all of the U.S. borders can actually be secured. Illegal border crossing from Canada poses far fewer problems to the residents of northern border states as illegal crossings from Mexico pose to southern border states - I'm not convinced that Montana or North Dakota would be committed to securing the northern border.
Debate Round No. 3
Intellicast414

Pro

Yes, it is an issue of National Security, which is why the Federal Government needs to pressure the states to do it.

I don't believe it should be the State's decision to secure the border or not, but it should be the state's decision on how to do it. The Federal Government should do it's job and increase the Border Patrol, but it is the State's job to build any fences or walls.

PROBLEM IS: The Federal Government IS NOT securing the borders, and they're not allowing other States to do it without their approval. So, they are holding the states back. If Montana doesn't want to secure their borders, that's their problem. The Federal Government needs to pressure them to do it, but it is Montana's decision to do so. If Montana doesn't secure their borders, then the states around it must make sure they keep an open eye for illegals. Each State needs to do it's own job of securing this country from Illegals, because it's not going to happen on the National spectrum.

Half of this issue is who is actually going to get it done, and it's not the Federal Government. They're too busy fighting the War in Iraq and trying to hold down the fort until Bush leaves office (Bush being a Globalist). I believe that if it were left up to the states, the Border issue would have been taken care of in Texas. I feel that the Feds are holding us back, and I blame much of the continuation of the issue on them.
KevinL75

Con

Here is the biggest problem I have with your argument: "The Federal Government needs to pressure them to do it, but it is Montana's decision to do so. If Montana doesn't secure their borders, then the states around it must make sure they keep an open eye for illegals."

It asbolutely 100% should NOT be Montana's decision whether or not to secure their border! If we actually accept this logic as true, and Montana decides to focus its resources elsewhere, we've created an even bigger gap in national security than we already have. This leaves EVERY state vulnerable to whatever comes through the Canada-Montana border, and that is most definitely a federal issue.

The rest of this argument seems to be about the reality of the situation, and who will actually take the initiative and get something done - the federal government or state government. In principle, I think that the federal government is the actor that should be responsible for security the nation's borders, because border security is a national issue much more than it's a state issue.

In reality, you may be right that Texas would do a faster job of securing its border without direction from the federal government, but I think the appropriate solution is to put pressure on the federal government to actually get something done, not to delegate to the states. Because if we delegate all responsibility to the states, we do leave ourselves vulnerable to something like what I described above with the Montana-Canada border.
Debate Round No. 4
Intellicast414

Pro

I thank you Kels for letting me know your throughts on the Montana-Candada Border Issue. I know the problem exists.

Let me put it this way: I believe that it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to make sure the States secure their borders, but I feel it's the State's responsibility to actually do it. The main reason I don't want the Federal Government securing the border is because a multi-state standard probably would not work in more than the one state that standard is set on. What works in Montana may not work in Washington State, and what works in California may not work in Texas. Only the states have the true knowledge of what would work best for them. If a Fence works in California, great, but it may not work in New Mexico or Arizona the same way. The Federal Government is covering too large of an area for it to be set up one way. That's why there are State Governments, so that the Feds don't have to deal with National issues at such a high level.

I hope this clears things up.
KevinL75

Con

I think that your view of the national government is too inflexible. You're assuming that legislation on the federal level can't take into account state-by-state variability.

I think that the ideal solution to this problem is to allow the federal government to push forward (and to encourage the federal government to actually do something) with a plan to truly secure our nation's borders, but to do this in close consultation with representatives from border states. I don't, however, think legislators like Ted Kennedy should be entirely excluded from the process, because the reality of the situation is that immigration, both in terms of being a security issue and being an economic issue, certainly affects non-border states as well as border states.

Your proposed solution is too much of an extreme, and would most likely exclude valuable input on the federal level in favor of a more local solution. Our immigration policy can certainly stand to incorporate local conventional wisdom, but it's still a national issue.

I also wonder if the same argument could be made by border towns in Texas. Isn't Laredo in a better position to know what works along the border than Austin or Dallas?
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
I would like to point out to intellicast that yes we do have an illegal immigration problem in MA. We may not have as big of a problem , but we have many illegal immigrants here. Now with that said I do not agree with Ted Kennedy that we give them amnesty. I believe we should start enforcing laws on illegal immigration. I am tired of it. There are many immigrants who do things the right way , follow the law and spend the money to get it. I have a problem with others not having to follow the law. Now before people jump on me to say that immigration is important, I realize that. I just don't believe ILLEGAL immigration is right. My grandmother came here LEGALLY from Ireland. My husband is here LEGALLY from Scotland. His family had to pay alot of money to get him here, he had to go through the proper channels and always keep his Greencard current. He also has since joined the American army and is fighting for our country in Iraq. He will recieve his actual citizenship when he comes home in March. Yet someone else can just come over the boarder and no problems ... Its not right.
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