The Instigator
Pro (for)
21 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
18 Points

The Arizona Immigration Law is fair and reasonable

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,947 times Debate No: 12215
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (56)
Votes (7)




1. I have yet to hear a call for a boycott of Arizona that made an accurate reference to the Arizona law that is at issue. The law at issue is Arizona Senate Bill 1070, as revised by House Bill 2162 (aka HB 2162). The full text of the law is The new Arizona law takes effect on July 29, 2010. It will require that if someone is stopped by police for other legal reasons, and the person also presents other legal reasons for doubting their citizenship status, that the police must then check citizenship status with the Federal Authorities.

The exact wording includes:

"For any lawful contact stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation. Any person who is arrested shall have the person's immigration status determined before the person is released. The person's immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States code section 1373(c). A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution. A person is presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following:

1. A valid Arizona driver license.
2. A valid Arizona nonoperating identification license.
3. A valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification.
4. If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance, any valid United States federal, state or local government issued identification."

What this amounts to is that if a person cannot show identification when stopped for a crime, law enforcement must check that person's citizenship.

2. Federal law allows federal authorities to demand a persons ID without any reason, and the Federal law has been tested in the Courts and found to be Constitutional. The state law is considerably less intrusive, since it demands a legal reason for the initial stop and specifically excludes racial profiling. It is not unreasonable to ask people stopped for other legal reasons to provide identification.

3. It would be unreasonable for any state to have an immigration law that contradicts Federal law. The Arizona law does not do that; it is within Federal law. The Supreme Court agrees that consistent state laws are permissible. "Brennan in his opinion for the Court in Plyler v. Doe (1982) acknowledged that "the States do have some authority to act with respect to illegal aliens, at least where such action mirrors federal objectives and furthers a legitimate state goal." there is Federal law against bank robbery; that does not preclude states from having laws against bank robbery, nor should it.

Note, however, that this debate is not about whether there is some legal technicality in the Arizona law in conflict with Federal law. It is about whether the Arizona Law is fair and reasonable.

4. The Federal government has not adequately enforced immigration laws nor compensated state for the expenses resulting from that failure. That has led to significant costs to the lawful citizens of Arizona. "Analysis of the latest Census data indicates that Arizona's illegal immigrant population is costing the state's taxpayers about $1.3 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration. Even if the estimated tax contributions of illegal immigrant workers are subtracted, net outlays still amount to about $1.3 billion per year. The annual fiscal burden borne by Arizonans amounts to more than $700 per household headed by a native-born resident."

It is therefore fair and reasonable that Arizona seek to enforce the law that would reduce their cost.

5. Finally, the Arizona Law is a mechanism to draw attention to the government's failure to provide border security and to provide relief to the State. It has already produced a token response. Obama has sent 1200 National Guardsmen to help enforcement. The Guardsmen will just be pushing paper, but it is something.


President Obama showed his woeful ignorance of the Arizona law, saying "'You can imagine, if you are a Hispanic American in Arizona ...' the president said Tuesday at a campaign-style appearance in Iowa, "suddenly, if you don't have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to be harassed." That's beyond merely being false, it is absolute nonsense.

The Arizona law is fair and reasonable.


I would first like to thank RoyLatham for instigating this debate and for introducing a topic that is both timely and extremely controversial.

With that said, I will analyze the resolution, refute my opponent's case and then present my own contentions.

==========THE RESOLUTION==========

Resolved: The Arizona Immigration Law is fair and reasonable.

Fair: free from favoritism or self-interest or bias or deception; conforming with established standards or rules (1)
Reasonable: showing reason or sound judgment; "a sensible choice"; "a sensible person" (2)

Because the resolution contains the conjunction "and," Pro must prove that Arizona's immigration law is both fair AND reasonable in order to win this debate. Con can win this debate by showing that the law is (a) fair but not reasonable, (b) not fair but reasonable or (c) neither fair nor reasonable.

==========MY OPPONENT'S CASE==========

----------First Contention----------

The excerpt my opponent provided is present in the bill, but it does not represent the entire intent of the law. The main intent of the law is "to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona" (3). In other words, the law institutes a policy of keeping out/deporting illegal immigrants by enforcing current federal law. I will show how this policy is flawed when I introduce my own contentions.

Regarding the excerpt itself, let me give my opponent an analogy. Let's say I'm a white dude riding my bicycle through the sun-kissed hills of Arizona. I ride over the crest of a hill, and now that I'm flying downhill. The speed limit on the road is 30 mph (which actually applies to all users of the road, including cyclists). I am going almost 40. A cop on a motorcycle with a radar gun catches me and "pulls me over." I don't have a formal ID on me; just a backpack with some water, a granola bar and a cell phone. The officer laughs, gives me a verbal warning, tells me to "ease up on the gas," and I'm let off on my way.

Now let's say I'm Guatemalan in heritage and appearance, but am also a third-generation U.S. citizen. My situation is the exact same as the white dude. However, because I am brown-skinned in this scenario, the moment the cop finds out I don't have ID, alarm bells go off in his head. "

"There may be a good reason for not having ID," thinks the officer, "but this guy looks like he could be illegal. I can't just take his word for it." I would then be brought into custody and my whole day would be ruined. That is what makes that section of Arizona's law unfair and unreasonable, because no matter what arguments in defense are made, it is still racial profiling.

----------Second Contention----------

My opponent claimed that, according to the Supreme Court, that a person's ID can be demanded without any reason. He wrote that the Supreme Court ruled it as Constitutional. However, just because it is upheld by the Supreme Court doesn't make it reasonable. The 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision is a perfect example (4). Just because the Supreme Court makes a ruling on something doesn't mean that ruling is fair and reasonable.

----------Third Contention----------

Why is it unreasonable to have a state law contradict federal law? If a Federal law is neither fair nor reasonable (which I plan to show), wouldn't a state law contradicting that be both fair and reasonable? And if a Federal law is unfair and unreasonable, wouldn't a state measure enforcing that law also be unfair and unreasonable?

----------Fourth Contention----------

Stay tuned. I will show in my contentions that the immigration policy of the federal government and Arizona are not economically practical.

----------Fifth Contention----------

I will cover this point in my contentions by showing how pure enforcement isn't the way to go.

==========MY CONTENTIONS==========

----------Contention 1: Arizona's New Law Will Not Be Very Effective----------

Proponents of Arizona's new immigration law believe along with illegal immigrants being caught and deported, upping the enforcement of federal law will result in illegal immigrants panicking and fleeing back to Mexico. This is a flawed assertion. A lapse in federal enforcement has caused thousands if not millions of immigrants to enter the United States illegally. Threatening to enforce the law now will not simply make these immigrants pack up and go home.

Think about it. Immigrants crossing the border have married Americans, established careers, and given birth to children who are American citizens. Furthermore, for many of these hardworking people, no matter how difficult we make life for them here, it will never be as terrible as the conditions they risked life and limb to leave. Increasing enforcement won't make illegal aliens leave, it will only drive them further underground, and they will look for new, more desperate ways to stay hidden.

To conclude, Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute said it best when he wrote that, "We can't build a new airtight, lawful system on top of a rotten, illegal foundation" (5). That's what the law will do. Enforcing a policy that hasn't been enforced for decades will fix nothing.

----------Contention 2: A Policy of Amnesty Would Be More Economical----------

My opponent claims that the presence of illegal immigrants in Arizona cost the state about $1.3 billion. Though this may be true, there is a better solution than trying to force out every undocumented worker.

An excerpt from a study by Monash University in Australia (6):

"This study finds that increased enforcement and reduced low-skilled immigration have a significant negative impact on the income of U.S. households. Modest savings in public expenditures would be more than offset by losses in economic output and job opportunities for more-skilled American workers. A policy that reduces the number of low-skilled immigrant workers by 28.6 percent compared to projected levels would reduce U.S. household welfare by about 0.5 percent, or $80 billion."

So we can see that trying to reduce the immigrant population will result in worse economic repercussions than keeping them. But we don't even have to resort to keeping the status quo. The study goes on:

"In contrast, LEGALIZATION of low-skilled immigrant workers would yield significant income gains for American workers and households. Legalization would eliminate smugglers' fees and other costs faced by illegal immigrants. It would also allow immigrants to have higher productivity and create more openings for Americans in higher-skilled occupations. The positive impact for U.S. households of legalization under an optimal visa tax would be 1.27 percent of GDP or $180 billion."

We can therefore see that not only would Arizona's enforcement law not work, but doing the opposite by legalizing the immigrants would be more economical, and frankly more humane.


Con has shown that even if Arizona's new law adheres to Constitutional standards (though many have argued that is is unconstitutional [7]), simply enforcing a the broken system will not deter illegal immigration. In fact, nationalizing the immigrants will actually result in a more desirable outcome.

The resolution has been negated.

Debate Round No. 1


My opponent has effectively granted that virtually every criticism of the Arizona Law is wrong, including Obama's nonsense about it allowing random harassment. Con's objections are built on the notion that Arizona should have its own open borders immigration policy contrary to Federal law because even though Arizona believes it is being crushed by the costs of providing benefits to illegals, a computer simulation in Australia shows Arizona ought to benefiting economically. We'll see.

1. Of course one intent of the bill is to discourage courage illegal immigration. The costs are breaking the back of the state.

Con describes a fantasy he has in which Arizona police behave unfairly in an odd situation. If fantasies are evidence, how about constructing a fantasy in which two guys are found standing over a dead body, but the police cheerfully release the white guy while holding the Hispanic for interrogation? Would constructing that fantasy prove that there was a defect in the Arizona homicide law? Would it prove that Arizona police are a bunch of racists? It does neither. What it proves is that it is not possible to write any law that is immune from possibility of police misconduct. The debate topic is about whether the law is fair and reasonable, not whether it is makes police misconduct utterly impossible, because no law does.

Con offered no evidence that Arizona police characteristically act out of racial prejudice. If the police were prejudiced, we would know about it because there would be no end of successful lawsuits charging prejudice and throwing out court verdicts. We have no shortage of lawyers in this country willing to bring such suits. No such thing has happened. I challenged Con to explain why, if the State of Arizona was prejudiced against Hispanics, that the police would be composed of 30% Hispanics, about the same proportion as in the state population. Con did not explain.

Moreover, if it were true that police misconduct was rampant, the correct remedy would be to improve procedures for expelling errant law officers, improve training, and tighten review of cases. The cure is not to legalize everything that is illegal, so that law enforcement would not be required and therefore power could not be abused.

A recent TV story interviewed a man of Hispanic ancestry who was caught near the Mexican border under somewhat suspicious circumstances with respect to his immigration status. The man said the authorities let him go after speaking with him for only a few minutes, because he spoke English without an accent even though he also spoke Spanish. That is a more likely outcome for Con's fantasy.

2. Con argues that a law passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court might not be fair and reasonable, and he cites a slavery case from 1858. I agree that it isn't an absolute guarantee, but a lot has happened to the laws and the Court since 1858, particularly with respect to civil rights. Consequently, there is now a good presumption that tested laws are fair and reasonable with respect to the rights of suspects. The additional safeguards in the Arizona Law over Federal law clearly make it fair.

While offering the possibility that the Arizona law might be unfair, Con never got around to saying what about it was unfair. He made the dubious argument that nullifying Federal Law would be economically beneficial, but even if true that doesn't make the Arizona Law unfair or unreasonable. He constructed a fantasy to show that the law could theoretically be enforced unfairly, but that doesn't make the law unfair. He claimed that other immigration policies might be better. None of that proves the law unfair or unreasonable. It is fair and reasonable for a State to mirror Federal law, especially with additional safeguards.

3. We are talking about immigration laws. Immigration affects national security, interstate commerce, and Federal expenses related to public benefits. It is unreasonable for a state to preempt Federal law because each of those issues affects the country as a whole, and therefore is properly in the Federal domain.

4. An Australian University is supposedly telling Arizona that illegal immigration benefits the state economically, based upon a computer simulation. It's easy to spot one huge error in the study. They assume that immigrants will only come to the US in proportion to the jobs available for them, and that therefore virtually all immigrants will be employed. However, the US Constitution requires that all public benefits be given to everyone within US borders. That includes welfare payments, unemployment insurance, education, and medical care. Failure to enforce immigration laws would crush the United States as every poor person in the world who can travel here (and those from Mexico and Central America clearly can) rushes in to enjoy a dramatic improvement in life style, job or not. Later on in the article, the authors say that number of guest workers would be limited by imposing a visa tax of 14% on employers. The unspoken premise is that entry is limited to only immigrants who are employed and only for so long as they remain employed. That condition can only assumed by strict enforcement of immigration laws.

Finally, we should not trust a computer simulation that is not tested and verified by experience. The state has made drastic cuts in social services because of the load of illegals on those services. Does Con suggest that Arizona be satisfied with a computer simulation that shows that couldn't happen because illegal immigration is economically beneficial?

The study ignores the need for immigration enforcement to apprehend drug smugglers, criminals, and terrorists. Con ignores that throughout his arguments as well. Even if there were no illegal immigration by job seekers, we would need to verify citizenship of lawbreakers.

Counting actual costs, the National Research Council puts the total cost of illegal immigration at $346 billion.

5. Con claims he has a better solution to immigration. That is not part of this debate. The debate is solely about whether the Arizona Law is fair and reasonable, not whether something else might be better. Even if there is a better immigration policy, it still reasonable for a state to defer to the Federal government in deciding immigration policy, and to help enforce that policy through fair means.

Con states that Arizona expects immigrants to panic. He already contradicted that in (1) above when he correctly asserted the Arizona objective was attrition. Con goes on to assert that law enforcement will fail, because those violating the laws will just hide. That argument applies to every law. Making homicide illegal just makes murders try harder to conceal their crimes. In fact law enforcement is a necessary step to comprehensive immigration reform. Immigration reform was enacted under Reagan, with the amnesty granted under the condition that in the future immigration laws would be enforced. The government then refused to enforce the laws, because politicians wanted votes from the Hispanic community and thought that abandoning rule of law would help them get votes. Because of that history of lying and double dealing, comprehensive immigration reform requires that enforcement be the first step.

I don't think that the main objective of the law is attrition. I think that the main objective is to get the Federal government to live up to its responsibilities. Con argues that we need comprehensive immigration reform, and I agree. Arizona is doing its best to draw attention to the need for action. All of Con's arguments favoring new policies support Arizona's law as a fair and reasonable way to provoke action.

The resolution is affirmed.


I thank my opponent for his timely response. In last round, Pro often used faulty logic and misinterpreted many of my arguments. I will point these instances out throughout my response.

========== MY OPPONENT'S ARGUMENTS ==========

----- 1 -----

The premise of my scenario comparing a white man and Hispanic man, respectively, had to do with the nature of nonviolent, unserious crimes. If a homicide was the crime in question, the appearance of the perpetrator wouldn't matter. A murder is much more serious than the possibility of being in this country illegally. However, when it comes to a minor crime, much more would be at stake (in comparison) for the perpetrator if he or she is suspected to be illegal.

Also, my opponent needs to understand that in judging the reasonability of a law, potential consequences must be considered, especially when it comes to whether or not the law will be justly enforced. Consider the Jim Crow laws in the South. These laws advocated separate but EQUAL accommodations. However, were these accommodations actually enforced so they would be equal? Of course not. This shows that judging the reality of a law is more important than its intent on paper.

----- 2 -----

A law can't be fair if the federal law it is trying to uphold hasn't been shown to be fair in the first place. One of Pro's main points of argumentation is that the law is fair and reasonable because it upholds Federal law. That is not sufficient. In order for Arizona's law to be fair and reasonable, Federal law must also be fair and reasonable. Saying Federal law is reasonable because the Federal government says so (a.k.a. the Supreme Court) is just using circular logic.

----- 3 -----

See #2.

----- 4 -----

My opponent has misinterpreted the Australian study and my analysis. The thesis of the study was NOT that we should have an open border policy. We SHOULD supervise who comes in and out of the country. However, the main focal points of Arizona's law has to do with what we will do with the illegal immigrants already residing in Arizona. The current law says to kick them out. The Australian study says that will be economically devastating. Instead, making the illegal immigrants currently in Arizona citizens would be much more economical. The Arizona law strives to do the opposite. The Australian study has nothing to do with controlling the border itself.


"Con claims he has a better solution to immigration. That is not part of this debate. The debate is solely about whether the Arizona Law is fair and reasonable, not whether something else might be better."

My point in introducing the option of amnesty was to show that there is a solution besides (a) doing nothing with the illegal immigrant population, and (b) forcing all the illegal immigrants out of the country.

"Even if there is a better immigration policy, it still reasonable for a state to defer to the Federal government in deciding immigration policy, and to help enforce that policy through fair means."

As I have shown, if a Federal law isn't fair and reasonable in the first place (see my Contention 1), any state law enforcing that Federal law can neither be fair not reasonable.

"Con states that Arizona expects immigrants to panic. He already contradicted that in (1) above when he correctly asserted the Arizona objective was attrition."

How is that a contradiction? The objective of causing immigrants to panic and to leave is the definition of attrition: reducing the amount of illegal immigrants in the state.

My opponent also believes saying that "enforcing immigration law will cause immigrants to hide" can be said for any law. Yes, it can be said for any law that hasn't been enforced. These immigrants have been allowed to break the law and come into the U.S. for decades without receiving any consequences. Think about the Prohibition. When alcohol was illegal, did people just stop doing what had always been tolerated? Of course not, they were simply driven underground. The same can be said with Arizona's new law.

"I don't think that the main objective of the law is attrition."

Now my opponent contradicts himself, because he said in Round 1 "he [Con] correctly asserted the Arizona objective was attrition."

========== MY CASE ==========

I have repeatedly shown that when a law has not been enforced for decades, simply threatening to enforce it now will do more harm than good. I'm actually glad my opponent brought up Reagan's plan of amnesty (with the condition of enforcement) because the Arizona law does the opposite.

Let me be clear on this: there is a difference between how we enforce the U.S.-Mexican border and what we do with immigrants already in the U.S. I agree with a policy of enforcing the border. However, Arizona's law mainly has to do with immigrants already in the state. In that respect, the law's policy is to REMOVE undocumented workers from the state.

---------- Economic Implication ----------

Removing illegal immigrants already in the state will be economically devastating, as I showed with the Australian study, The study has nothing to do with border enforcement, just with immigrants already here. It shows that removing the immigrants from Arizona, which the law's aim, is not the sensible (i.e. reasonable) thing to do, thus negating the resolution.

The reasonable thing to do would be the opposite, in other words to make these immigrants citizens of the United States. This way they will have all the responsibilities of everyone else: paying taxes, jury duty, etc. They will be able to work the same jobs, but they can now be out in the open about it.

========== CONCLUSION ==========

Arizona's law is only fair in the legal sense. It certainly isn't reasonable, by both a moral, practical and economic standpoint. The resolution has been negated.
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks to Con for an excellent debate on a timely topic. I hope at least a few people will read it!

I challenged Con to specify exactly what is in the Arizona law that is unfair or unreasonable. Obama's claim that it allows arbitrary harassment is clearly false, and Con didn't attempt any such argument. Con's first claim was that in situations where someone committed a minor crime, the police might act prejudicially against an Hispanic. I pointed out that it is impossible to write a law that was immune to the potential of unfair enforcement. Whether the law is homicide or littering, it is possible for the police to act unfairly. I challenged Con to provide evidence that Arizona police were characteristically unfair. He provided no evidence. The police force is 30% Hispanic, like the state. I challenged Con to explain how that was possible if the state was characteristically racist. Con did not reply.

I argued that if in fact there was some unfairness in carrying out laws in Arizona, no matter if it is homicide, littering, or immigration law, the remedy is to improve police training and weed out the bad actors, not repeal all the laws. Con did not respond.

Con presented an Australian computer simulation that claims that illegal workers are a net benefit to the economy. I pointed out several major flaws in the study.One is that the computer simulation was not checked against real world data. Multiple studies, which I cited, show that illegal immigration is economically damaging. Con never made any reference to real world data, only computer simulations. I also pointed out that the study assumed complete border security and immigration control, so that immigrants were always employed. The study assumed that present immigrants were in an environment of full employment, which may have been reasonable when the study was done, but is not true now. The study also assumed that no one came to the US illegally to obtain better medical care or other benefits, and that none came to deal drugs or engage in other illegal activities. Con ignored my criticisms.

Con continues to maintain that once an illegal makes it across the border they are always a net benefit to American society and should be allowed to stay here immune from detection and repatriation. So, for example, in the past year 500,000 illegals were intercepted in the Tucson sector alone. It's usually figured that one in four is caught at the border. According to Con's theory, once they cross the border they are an economic asset, despite Arizona's terrible economic condition and high unemployment. Con's argument is not tenable. They might be an asset if all were employed, as Con's study assumed, but that is not the case.

Con mistakes the concept of "attrition," claiming it is means the same as "panic." Attrition means a slow exodus under pressure. According to the dictinary "attrition" is "A gradual diminution in number or strength because of constant stress. ... A gradual, natural reduction in membership or personnel, as through retirement, resignation, or death." The goal is to increase the pressure on illegal immigration so it gradually subsides.

Even if Con's argument is true, that immigrants become an asset upon crossing the border, would it be unreasonable for Arizona to believe that it is not true? There are many reputable studies that say that in the real world it is not true, so it is reasonable to believe real world data over computer simulation. The Arizona law is therefore reasonable.

The Arizona law does not give any new powers to police to inquire about immigration status. Police anywhere in the country can check a suspect person's immigration status. In sanctuary cities, they chose not to; in San Francisco they were not even checking felons. The Arizona law requires that status be checked, but only in the very limited circumstances of enforcing other laws.

Con keeps repeating that mirroring Federal Law is not necessarily fair. I agree that in theory Federal Law might not be fair, but I pressed Con to reveal exactly what it was about Federal law that is unfair. I pointed out that the Federal law has withstood Court scrutiny under the Constitution and all of the subsequent civil rights legislation. When pressed, Con finally claimed that the unfairness had nothing to do with civil rights, but that Federal law had not been previously enforced, so it was unfair to start enforcing it. Con's argument is wrong, because Federal law has been enforced continually. What is sought is more vigorous enforcement. In other words, there has never been a reliable presumption that the law wouldn't be enforced, so therefore it is fair to increase the level of enforcement.

There is a parallel with enforcement of laws against human trafficking. The laws against it were always in place, but enforcement was lax. In recent years, public awareness increased as to the scope of the problem and its very bad consequences, so enforcement has been increased. Those selling sex slaves ought not claim immunity on the grounds that it is unfair to decrease the odds of them getting away with the crime. The resources devoted to enforcing a particular law depend upon awareness of the harm done to society. When the nation has very low unemployment and fairly good revenues to support welfare programs, there is less pressure to step up enforcement of immigration laws. Now we are in a financial crisis, there are no spare jobs, and we are facing much more severe problems of drug smuggling and terrorist threat. It's reasonable to increase enforcement.

I pointed out several times that the illegal immigrant population includes criminals and terrorists. To be sure it is not a large percentage, but they now have a sea of illegals in which to hide. I challenged Con to explain why Arizona should not attempt to locate and expel professional bad guys. Con never responded.

I contended that the main purpose of Arizona's law is to draw attention to the problem of illegal immigration so that the Federal government will act to solve the problem. The previous governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, sent invoices to the Feds for some of the expenses incurred by Arizona as a consequence of the Federal failure to enforce the laws. She was outraged at getting no response. Now Napolitano is receiving those invoices in her new role as Secretary of Homeland Security, and she is ignoring them. Arizona is reasonably trying to raise the issue through legislation that gives the police no new powers and contains far greater safeguards than Federal law. So far, Obama has at least responded with a token force of 1200 National Guardsmen to help by pushing paperwork. It's not much, but it shows the law is starting to have its desired effect. Con ignored my argument and did not respond.

All illegal immigrants are foreigners. Hence laws against illegal immigration target foreigners. What is foreign depends upon where you are. Every country in the world, from The Vatican to China is able to cope with this type of "unfairness" and has laws to limit immigration. Mexico has especially harsh laws governing illegal immigration, which comes from Central America to Mexico. Only a minority in the United States cannot seem to understand the critical need to have immigration laws and to enforce them both at the border and within the nation. The Arizona law is primarily symbolic. It is fair and reasonable for the State to protect its economic viability and to draw attention to the need for Federal action. There is nothing in the law that violates civil rights and the Courts have upheld the much more stringent Federal law against civil rights challenges.

Con has made only hypothetical claims unsupported by either real world economic data or actual experience with civil rights in Arizona. I made many challenges to his arguments which were ignored.

The resolution is affirmed.


Steelerman6794 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
56 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
Great debate! Con failed to address almost all of Pro's points while Pro address every point Con made. Con never showed how or why the law is unfair and unreasonable while Pro showed otherwise. It's all points in favor of Pro except spelling and grammar a tie.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
Spaz, I have no idea how many illegals were caught by local authorities. Why is it important? The new law has not gone into effect, so the number under the new law is zero. Currently most of the illegals are going through the Tucon sector, and Tucson is a a sanctuary city. The new law ends sanctuary cites. So there are none from Tucson.

I did tell you that the goal is for local authorities to catch none, because the Feds start doing their job. That explains why your question was not important. Did you understand my response? I guess you did not, because if you had understood the response you would know why it doesn't damage my case. 100% of the illegals are foreigners. How is it possible to have any immigration law that is immune from charges of discrimination, since the subjects are all foreigners?

So if you are now in the mood for answering questions, explain how it is possible to provide checks in any law, homicide to littering. that does not involve charging the police with malfeasance and then proving it in court? What laws do this?

It is quite common for those accused of illegal entry to sue on various grounds to prevent their being deported. The judge suspends deportation until the case is settled.

The law says the officer is protected against damages unless there is malfeasance. Malfeasance cannot be judged without tracing it back to the officer. Moreover, the city could not defend itself without the testimony of the officer. Every police report and arrest is traceable to the officer. That is part of standard police procedure. There is no need to repeat that in this law. Since the Constitution provides a right to confront ones accuser, and that right applies to anyone within the US, legal or not, anyone accused anonymously would have to be set free.

You claimed it would be impossible to apply the law without profiling. Tell me exactly why checking the citizenship of every person without ID does not enforce the law without profiling?
Posted by Spaztoid 7 years ago
You make an interesting point about the supposed goal of this law; which is to get the Federal government to do their job in protecting the border. It is a good intention, however we all know that ever famous saying about the road to hell and good intentions. This law, while being good conceptually, it a poor piece of legislation as it ignores it ramifications and creates precedents that will be detrimental in the future.

You ignored my question completely, which leads me to believe that you know answering it will damage your argument. Trying to mitigate problems in this law with good intentions is nothing more than a mask. This law was designed with an intent, and that intent is to help reduce the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico, be it immediately or over time. It is not a racially neutral law, and so the text in it is nothing more than a formality. No matter how one might bend the law wording of the law, eventually its intention violates its own rules against not racially profiling and further violates civil rights.
Posted by Spaztoid 7 years ago

Indeed, the law does prohibit it, however again that was an addition to the law because when first proposed it did not have that section. It is worth considering the potential ramifications of a law even if those possibilities do not follow the original intent of the law. The law spells out the consequences for misapplication however that is different than accountability. The law lacks correlation back to the arresting officer, and thus the consequences are moot because there is no one to hold them against. While there may be other ways to hold an officer accountable for discrimination, they are not written into this law and thus this law is poorly designed. If you wish to cling to the text of the law, find the section that explicitly states how reports related to deportation and detainment are to be written and filed, and furthermore find where the law requires an officer to divulge his suspicions and what led to his suspicions.

The problem with checks in this law is that there really aren't any. A person who is not a citizen of the United States cannot sue an officer if they are deported, because they are no longer in the country to do so and it is near impossible for them to prove that the officer did not act in accordance with the law. The only time your system of check through lawsuit works is in the case of a citizen's civil rights being violated by a blatant violation of the law. Those cases are far and few between. This law, and many like it, lack any real balance and thus a they are poor pieces of legislation.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
Spaz, You claimed tat the the law required racial profile when in fact it prohibits it. Then you claimed that there is no heck against racial profiling even though the law spells out penalties for doing so. The chaeck is the conventional, someone who believes they were targeted because of race sues and then shows there was no lawful reason for their being stopped, or no other grounds for reasonable suspicion. That's the check for discriminatory application of every other law, from homicide to littering.

The law makes it obvious exactly how it will be enforced. Police will run a citizenship check on every person who does not have one of the specified forms of identification. Very few citizens fail to carry a driver's license, so it is not going to be a problem to run everyone who does not have one.

You thought it was irrelevant that border security is not being enforced, nd is in fact being cut back. The relevance is that it wold be unreasonalbe for a state to enforce a Federal law if the Feds were doing their job of enforcing it. The Feds are not doing the job so it is reasonable for the state to protect themselves. The point of the law, which you ignore and was ignored throughout the debate, is to get the Feds to do their job.

How many illegals are apprehended by local police depends entirely upon how well the Feds do the job. Controlling immigration is not too difficult, if the government wanted to do it. Build a fence and patrol it with about double the number of border patrol officers, and and also crack down on employers. Cracking down on employers involves checking the social security numbers of employees.

Currently, less than $1 billion of Homeland Security's $56 billion budget is spent on the border. It would probably take about $3 billion to provide effective security. Once the border is secure, then it will be possible to institute a guest worker program.
Posted by Steelerman6794 7 years ago
Sorry for forfeiting my final round. I just could not get to a computer the last three days. Thanks for the debate anyway Roy.
Posted by Spaztoid 7 years ago
13-1509 C does state that no determination may be made on race, nationality, skin color, etc. However, it is worth noting that it was not originally included in the law and was added in later. However, even with it included, it holds little legal power because it lacks a check system wherein an officer is required to divuldge what led to thier suspicions, and it lacks a system of accountability for officers found in violation of the section. It is a formality text.

As for the law's application as a short term law, the text of the law is designed to adress the current issue. Of course, like all laws, it is and will remain in effects unless it is repealed or ammended, however it was created to adress a current issue. Illegal Immigration into Arizona is not a long term problem in that in 100 years, it not gaurenteed that the problem will still exist. If Mexico turned around and became more prosperous, then we might not have any illegal immigration at all. This makes the law a short term law as it is effecting an immidate problem, one which may or may not exist in the future.

Ignoring the quips about Obama and the rancher who's neighbor was killed, as they are unimportant here, here is my question to you. In the last 10 years, how many illegal immigrants have caught by local authorities, and of those, how many were not from Mexico or South of the US Mexico Border (meaning countries in Latin America)?
Posted by Spaztoid 7 years ago

First, I apologize for the first line of my last comment, insulting you was childish on part.

No, I do not attend Harvard, nor would I wish too. There a number of other undergraduate and graduate colleges that provide a strong education without the added hype. The college I attend is unimportant to you or this informal debate, so I would prefer that you avoided assumptions about my personal life.

"For any lawful contact stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation."

This law requires a police officer who has a reasonable suspicion about the immigration status of a detained individual is required to check on the immigration status of such an individual provided it does not hinder his or her primary duties as a police officer. This statement allows an officer to make such a determination based upon their determinations and beliefs provided they have some evidence. This pushes people into a position of racially profiling, simply by virtue of intent. The current illegal alien problem is one where immigrants from Mexico are crossing the border without authorization. Therefore, this law was created with the intent of reducing the number of illegal immigrants in Arizona, specifically those from Mexico. Thus, you are placing police officers into a position where they are given digression and required to take action based upon their suspicions. That is inevitably going to involve racial profiling.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
I posted a debate challenge to Spaztoid wherein he has an opportunity to make his case that the Arizona Law requires racial profiling. Since he is a self-proclaimed authority on law, I am looking forward to a good debate. If anyone else would like to take the debate, let me know.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
Spaztoid, According to your claim of being an outstanding authority on immigration law (Harvard Law School, right?), you must know that police in every state already have the right to check the immigration status of anyone they contact. And if you ever had the time to read the Arizona law, you would also recognize that it forbids racial profiling. (Did Harvard teach you not to read the law you are attacking?) So there are no new powers granted by the law. The law outlaws sanctuary cites, so it will have a marginal effect in increasing enforcement in those areas, where the city authorities now forbid checking status.

You offered no evidence that the purpose of the law is to stop illegal immigration in the short term. Despite your towering self-proclaimed authority on the subject, I doubt that. I think the main purpose of the law is to get the Federal authorities to do their job of protecting the border. You must know that Obama has refused to build the authorized fence, has cut the enforcement budget substantially, and is reducing the the number of border patrol agents. As you know, one rancher in Arizona has had 500,000 illegals apprehended on his property; they have broken into his house seven times and killed his neighbor. While if that were your property, enlightened as you are, you would unquestionable still oppose attempts to stem the tide. You understand, however, that Arizonans are no so enlightened.

Beyond drawing attention to the problem, the purpose of the law is long term. The goal is to discourage illegal immigration by attrition. That was stated in the passage of the law. But you know all that, right?
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