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

The US Federal Government Should Not Construct a Border Fence Between the US and Mexico

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 5/24/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,348 times Debate No: 91729
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (54)
Votes (6)




I'm very much looking forward to this debate. Wylted is a very strong debater, and I'm sure this is going to be a fantastic debate.

Full Resolution

The US federal govenrment should not construct a border fence between the US and Mexico.


United States Federal Government: "The United States Federal Government is established by the US Constitution. The Federal Government shares sovereignty over the United Sates with the individual governments of the States of US. The Federal government has three branches: i) the legislature, which is the US Congress, ii) Executive, comprised of the President and Vice president of the US and iii) Judiciary."[1]

Border Fence: A fence or wall built between two or more countries that stretches along the entire border between the countries.


1. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
2. No semantics or trolling.
3. All arguments must be visible inside this debate, and character limits must not be broken. Sources may be posted in an outside link.
4. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.

Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the other person.

Debate Structure

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Presenting all arguments (no rebuttals by con)
Round 3: Refutation of opponent's arguments
Round 4: Defending your arguments and conclusions (no new arguments)


Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Wylted for accepting this debate.

I. The Cost of a Wall

The costs are a bit up in the air, because it depends on the material used to build the wall, the height of the wall, the thickness of the wall, and the exact location (and therefore length) of the wall. It also depends on whether the wall would supplement the current fence that runs along about a third of the border, or if that fence would be fully supplanted by the new wall. I'm going to base my numbers off of what the wall would most likely look like (and yes, my analysis borrows heavily on Donald Trump's proposed specs), but if my opponent disagrees with my specs, I will be glad to change my numbers accordingly.

The material would be reinforced concrete, the height of the wall would be 40 feet, and the thickness of the wall would be eight inches. While the US-Mexico border is 2,000 miles, due to natural barriers, the wall would only need to be 1,000 miles. The wall would also supplant rather the supplement the current fence (because it leaves certain parts, namely the ones covered by the fence, more exposed the others, namely the ones covered by the wall).[1][2]

So, calculating the cost of that much concrete, including materials and shipping costs, "We spoke to a retired estimator and economist for one of the nation’s largest construction firms. He worked through some of the math, though he did not want to be identified publicly. Roughly, he said a wall of this type would cost at least $25 billion - and that is not counting a video system to keep watch on the border. Building the wall would also require at least 40,000 workers a year for at least four years, but he doubted it could be built so quickly." So, when all is said and done, the cost appears to be $25 billion.[2]

It's also important to remember that the costs don't just equal the cost of concrete needed to make the wall plus the cost of shipping it. There's also labor costs and maintenance costs. Assuming that 40,000 workers are hired for the job, that the wage is $10 per hour, that the workers are only working for eight hours a day, and that the project is completed in four years, all of which are minimum values (meaning the numbers could only get higher), we get that the minimum labor cost is $5 billion. Maintenance costs are a little harder to pin down. They have been estimated to be $750 million a year, with an additional cost of $1.4 billion to man the wall with 21,000 border patrol agents.[3]

Therefore, we see that the wall, at a minimum, costs $30 billion, with $2 billion in maintenance required to make it as effective as possible. And this still doesn't include all the other potential costs, including the costs of using eminent domain or damage to the wall from natural or manmade sources. With all this in mind, the wall better have some sizable benefits to justify this massive cost.[4]

II. The Uselessness of the Wall

The only reason why the wall is proposed is as a solution to keep out Central and South American immigrants from entering the country. It is often claimed that such immigrants are often criminals, specifically drug dealers, rapists, and murderers. Then the wall should also reduce the flow of drugs and the incidence of rape in the US.

However, the wall doesn't keep out migrants very well. "Nearly half of all the unauthorized migrants now living in the United States entered the country legally through a port of entry such as an airport or a border crossing point where they were subject to inspection by immigration officials, according to new estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center." These people apply for visas, and then overstay their time, becoming unauthorized. A wall can't prevent this. Building a wall along the US-Mexico border would just encourage people to apply for visas, which they would then overstay.[5]

But there are an even more easier ways to subvert the wall - ladders and tunnels. Even with 21,000 border guards, there would still be sections of the wall that would be patrolled just little enough that immigrants could sneak in using ladders. And even with border guards placed every foot, it would be hard to stop immigrants from tunneling under the wall. Mexicans are rather famous for building tunnels to smuggle drugs, and there's no doubt that they'd use this tactic if a wall was constructed. Thus, rapists and murderers would not be any more inhibited by a border wall by using either method mentioned above.[6]

It's a bit more complicated for drug dealers, because they have to transport contraband into the US, which couldn't be done by overstaying a visa. But the more traditional methods for subverting the wall mentioned above, namely the use of ladders and tunnels, would still allow for the transportation of drugs across the border. It is also common practice for Mexican drug dealers to throw or catapult drugs over the existing fence to dealers on the other side of the wall.[7]

But there's nothing surprising here, as historical precedent agrees. The Great Wall of China did nothing to stop the Mongols. The Maginot Line did nothing to stop the Nazis. Many people even got over the Berlin Wall, one of the most heavily fortified and guarded walls in human history. Even modern precedent agrees. Walls built along the Israeli-Palestinian and Balkan countries’ borders have done little to stop Palestinians and refugees from crossing them. There's no reason to except a wall built along the US-Mexican border to be any different.

Thus, there seems to be little benefit to having a wall constructed. Therefore, the cost of the wall mentioned above is simply not worth it given the marginal benefits the wall would have.

III. The Benefits of Mexican Immigrants

But even if there was some perfect wall that we somehow had the money to pay for, there'd still be one crucial problem, namely that its intention is counterproductive. Most immigration is a net benefit to the country that receives the immigrants.

One, there's the economy. "For the United States as a whole, immigrants’ share of total output was about 14.7 percent over 2009–2011. Note that this is actually larger than immigrants’ 13 percent share of the population." So immigrants contribute to the US economy, and, per capita, contribute more compared to native born citizens. In addition, "Moreover, many immigrants are business owners. In fact, the share of immigrant workers who own small businesses is slightly higher than the comparable share among U.S.-born workers." So not only do immigrants create more economic activity than they’re supposed to, they help spur it even further by starting businesses, which encourage native born citizens to shop or work more as well.[8]

And two, there's the benefit of added culture. Multiculturalism is beneficial, because it exposes both natives and immigrants to each other, giving each a more holistic worldview and a greater conception of global identity. It also strengthens the democratic process. “Multiculturalism teaches the citizens of a democratic society to value diversity and differences, helping to integrate diverse cultures into the larger society without cutting them off from their past. This, in turn, helps to reinforce the polity because citizens are willing to make sacrifices for those with whom they share a common project.” While this isn’t a debate on multiculturalism, I thought it was appropriate to mention the benefits of it to argue that immigration, and specifically Mexican immigration to the United States, is beneficial.[9]

Therefore, we see that there are benefits to Mexican immigration to the United States, meaning that, even if a wall could stop the flow of immigration, we would actually see a cost, not a benefit.


The cost of a reliable wall is, at the very minimum, $30 billion, plus $2 billion a year to maintain the wall. The wall is useless because it doesn't stop immigrants from overstaying their visas, meaning that rapists and murderers could come over just as easily, and because drug dealers are, even now, using things like ladders, tunnels, catapults, and more to get drugs over the currently existing border fence. Thus, the costs are not worth the marginal benefits. However, even if the wall had reasonable benefits in keeping out Mexicans, it would leave out the fact that immigrants, including Mexican immigrants immigrating to the US, have benefits, including spurring greater economic activity and encouraging multiculturalism. Overall, a border wall built between the US and Mexico should not be built.





The wall I proppose is one like we have seen elsewhere around the world. One that has been proven to be effective and affordable. The wall you see below is a rendering of what is on the Iraq-Saudi Arabia border.

Diagram of double fence on Saudi Iraq border

The wall will have the following attributes as written by Roy Latham:

" Double fencing has two steel walls 15 feet high and 100 yards apart. Sensors placed between the walls, including cameras, detect intruders. In the most secure design a barbed wire obstacle is included between the walls. An access road allows the Border Patrol to rush to an intrusion site before the intruders can traverse the second fence. Ground sensors detect tunneling. Guard stations are 10 miles apart, allowing any point to be reached in about 5 minutes."

Why We Need a Border Fence

1. 80% of women and girls crossing the border are raped according to amnesty international. With 700,000 people illegally crossing the border each year, this is a huge epidemic that a border fence could end.

There are a ton of immigrant deaths happening from illegal crossings each year. There have been over 1800 known deaths across the border. We need to put a wall up for some very good humanitarian reasons.

2. Having no border wall makes it easier for terrorists to sneak into the country. In a one month period of time 18 people from Afghanistan, 79 people from Pakistan and 619 people from China were caught at the border. It is a myth that only Mexicans are crossing illegaly into the United Stateson the Southern border. In September of 2015 two men with definite ties to terrorism crossed into the Southern border. That is just one of many exaples, and doesn't count all the ones not caught.

3. Illegal immigration poses a massive public health risk. Illegal immigrants do not get the necessary health screenings before crossing the border. "disease of the Third World, is readily evident along the U.S.-Mexico border and that dysentery is several times the U.S. rate". Nearly 60% of all new cases of TB have been diagnosed in foreign born persons. Most of the other 40% probably came from exposure of it from foreign born persons. The Pork tapeworm which thrives in Mexico and Latin America is being seen a lot in border towns and "its eggs can cause[.] Cysts that form around the larvae usually lodge in the brain and destroy tissue, causing hallucinations, speech and vision problems, severe headaches, strokes, epileptic seizures, and in rare cases death.".

4.It's not just the diseases coming across the border that is a a problem.It is hurting our entire medical system. According to the Las Angelas county supervisor Michael Antonovich. "We're running an H.M.O. for illegal immigrants and if we keep it up, we're going to bankrupt the county.". He is not the only person saying this sort of thing Madeleine Peiner Cosman, Ph.D writing for The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons says “What is unseen is their [illegal aliens’] free medical care that has degraded and closed some of America’s finest emergency medical facilities, and caused hospital bankruptcies: 84 California hospitals are closing their doors.”

It's no mystery that illegal immigrants ar mostly uninsure or uninsured. They don't have the abiity to partake in preventative care measures so they tend to go to the emergency room at double the rate of non illegal immigrants. " As a result, the costs of medical care for immigrants are staggering. The estimated cost of unreimbursed medical care in 2004 in California was about $1.4 billion per year. In Texas, the estimated cost was about $.85 billion, and in Arizona the comparable estimate was $.4 billion per year." In 1994 about 75,000 "anchor babies" were born in California costing taxpayers more than 200 million dollars. Now there are close to 500,000 anchor babies born nationally, given inflation from 1994 and the large number we are looking at well over a billion dollars in tax pyer money going towards these maternity ward expenses.

5. There is a lot of crime coming across the border straining our resources even further while also endangering our security. Human trafficking across the border is making the criminal underworld rich, worldwide human trafficking is a 32 billion dollar a year industry.

California spends close to a billion dollars housing illegal immigrants most of them from Mexico and Central America. wide the totals are closeto 8 billion dollars.

We need a fence to stop the illegal smuggling of drugs as well as other illegal contraband. Products made from endangered species, bootleg CDs and DVDs, fake luxury products, and fake prescription drugs among other things. The Mexican drug cartels like to engage in kidnapping Americans, we should probably try to put a wall betweeen us and them to ake it harder.

There are a ton of illegal guns crossing the border. Until we secure the border any gun laws we make a very likely to be completely ineffective.

6. It's almost universally agreed on that the Mexican government is extremely corrupt. According to a 2014 study ranking the corruption level of countries, Mexico was in 100th place out of 135 countries. As an example of the corruption the government had 43 students kidnapped and killed to stop a protest from occurring to insure an elected official stayed in office. By allowing a high number of illegal immigants, the United States is making it easier for political dissidents to leave their country as opposed to staying there and voting out corrupt politicians and fixing their system. Having half a million people who are upset with Mexico to leave it every year as opposed to working to change it, insures that the system will stay corrupt indefinitely. The best thing we can do for the long term good of the Mexican people is to shut down illegal immigration to the best of our ability.

Costs of the Wall

Israel built it's border fence for 2.83 million per mile.'ll assume he U.S. government sucks at doing anything efficiently and estimate the costs at 16 million per mile. (despite all the illegal aliens we could hire at slave wages). According to Mr. Latham again:

"At that rate, 700 miles of the fence would cost $16 B. Ineffective single fencing was built for $7 billion and that should be replaced with the secure double fencing. However, the costs of building the road and overcoming legal obstacles has already been borne. Governor Perry, a firm opponent of the fence about 20 years and would cost $6.7 billion to staff and maintain. He's an opponent so he's probably exaggerating the costs. Amortizing costs, that's a total of $1.1 billion per year. The 2013 budget for the Department of Homeland Security was $60.8 billion, so $1.1 billion would be is a small part of the budget. Costs would be repaid if it it reduced illegal immigration costs by even a half percent."

Effectiveness of Wall

An article by the blaze tells us:

"According to the most recent quarterly figures published by the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority, 36 people have been caught trying to enter the southern border since January.

It’s an incredible drop after 10,440 were caught in 2012"

A border fence in in the Yuma Arizona not even as close to being as secure to the one I propose has dropped immigration by a whopping 94%.

The Law

The United states government has an ethical duty to enforce the law. If we are going to have borders and border laws we need to enforce them. Building a border wall is an effective and humane way to do that. If the country does not make laws it should pass them in a Democratic way, not subvert the law by having intentionally weak border security.Unjust laws do not belong on the books, but border laws are just for the reasons mentioned. If we don't want borders than we should vote to merge with Mexico, but I don't think many people would support that.

"our government, according to the Border Patrol, did not have operational control of 43 percent — or approximately 826 miles — of our southern border."

It is just unacceptable for that to occur. It makes no sense to have all this seurity at airports, when terrorists can pick any portion of the 43% of the ungaurded border to just stroll right through.

Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank Wylted for presenting his arguments.

I. The Supposed Reasons for a Border Fence

One of the main reasons women in particular are immigrating to the U.S. in the first place is because they are fleeing rape. “…females most feared rape or disappearance at the hands of the same groups. While over half of Salvadoran children list more than one reason for migrating, nearly 100 list only this fear.” A border fence would do nothing to stop this. The rape that would be prevented along the border would simply be balanced by more rape happening south of the border areas. Thus, the overall incidence of rape would not decrease if a border fence was constructed. Only a country-wide reevaluation of how women should be treated would solve this problem in any effective manner.[1]

No matter how militarized the fence becomes, it wouldn’t stop the flow of migrants across the border. “Its apparent fragility is not a mirage, as evidenced by the ladders, the 149 tunnels, and the holes in the mesh panels that make long stretches of the fence look like a patchwork quilt. In 2010 alone, more than 4,000 holes were cut.” And this was through the part of the border where a fence actually was. The fence is only meant to make it more difficult for migrants to cross the border. “The fence is simply one component in the militarization of the border… It is designed less to stop people from crossing the border illegally than to apprehend them once they have crossed.” This means that migrants are still going to go through difficult terrain, still causing thousands of them to die every year. It's just that it would potentially be easier to apprehend them after they cross the border fence.[2]

The border between the U.S. and Mexico is only one small part of the full border of the U.S. While a border fence might better police the U.S.’s southern border against terrorists, it wouldn’t prevent terrorists from entering the U.S. using other paths and means. While people from Syria and Afghanistan have crossed the Mexican border, the number who have done so is in the single digits, even though many more enter the U.S. Further, “Despite the border security buildups and a hundred billion dollars spent along the southwestern border, no terrorists or terrorist weapons have been seized.” Even with other avenues of entrance considered, the southern border simply isn’t the primary avenue for terrorists.[3]

Short of completely preventing immigrants from entering the U.S. or forcibly screening everyone that does, a border fence would not prevent epidemics from plaguing the U.S. Immigrants will still go over the fence, immigrants will still overstay their visas, and immigrants will still come from other locations besides Central America and Mexico, meaning that there are still a number of ways for immigrants to spread disease. It only takes one person to start an epidemic.

In fact, the border fence itself is unhealthy. One study concluded that the current border fence has caused, “Significant new flooding, erosion, and sedimentation problems, ground disturbance resulting in the introduction and spread of exotic species… air and water pollution and effects on microclimate, [and] difficulties accessing areas for agricultural practices, fire management and habitat restoration.” It can only be assumed that a longer, more sophisticated border fence would worsen these problems, and potentially introduce new ones.[4]

While it seems like immigrants would be a burden on the healthcare system, in reality, it is exactly the opposite. “From 2000 to 2011, unauthorized immigrants contributed $2.2 to $3.8 billion more than they withdrew annually (a total surplus of $35.1 billion).” This is due to the fact that, while the healthcare system is designed to care for the health of the average American, the average Mexican immigrant is healthier than the average American, meaning that while Mexican immigrants pay as much as Americans do, they require fewer services, and thus have less of a cost on the healthcare system. “Despite their low socioeconomic status, Mexican Americans tend to be healthier than non-Hispanic Whites… Contrary to popular belief, the cost of immigrants’ health care is very low compared with that of the U.S.-born population.” Thus, not only are Mexican immigrants not a burden on the healthcare system, they benefit it.[5][6]

Human trafficking, like rape, is a huge problem inside Central America and Mexico, meaning that a border fence would do little to stop it. It would simply block off one potential destination for the trafficking victims. For example, “But more Nicaraguans are deported from Guatemala than from any other country, suggesting that many Nicaraguans may be destined for intermediate countries rather than the United States.” Similar situations hold for migrants from other Central American countries. The same amount of human trafficking would remain, but the destinations would change.[7]

As I mentioned above, the border fence is designed not to stop the flow of migrants itself, but to make it easier to apprehend them and return them to Mexico. Thus, a better border fence would have no effect on housing costs. Further, if a better border fence were built, it would cost more to police it.

As I explained in the last round, the current border fence is not doing a very good job of keeping contraband and drugs out of the U.S. Even if we assume the border fence could not be scaled by ladders, smugglers could still use tunnels and catapults to transport contraband and drugs over the border. This has occurred many times. In addition to methods detailed in the last round, there are the methods of smuggling contraband and drugs through checkpoints, ramps over walls, and ultralight planes. These methods, in addition to those of tunnels and catapults, cannot be stopped by building a better wall.[8]

As for the general perception that Mexican immigrants cause more crime than native-born citizens, “The incarceration rate for foreignR08;born adults is 297 per 100,000 in the population, compared to 813 per 100,000 for U.S.R08;born adults. The foreignR08;born, who make up roughly 35% of California’s adult population, constitute 17% of the state prison population, a proportion that has remained fairly constant since 1990.” Most immigrants, particularly ones in California, come from Central America and Mexico, as opposed to other locations as well.[9]

While it is certainly true than Mexico is extremely corrupt, my opponent’s supposed solution to the problem seems ineffective. It is often best for government detractors to move to another country to make plans than to stay in their own country, where they are likely to be imprisoned or assassinated. Take the case of Lenin. Had he stayed in Russia, he probably would have been imprisoned or executed. However, he fled Russia for Switzerland until the political climate in Russia was more favorable to him. Thus, a border fence would not help corruption in Mexico.[10]

Of course, pervading every argument is the question of whether or not a border fence is even effective at preventing immigrants from crossing the border. I argued in my first argument that it is not, and I will expand on that in the next round, so that point also makes every argument my opponent made here null.

II. The Law

Regardless of what border law says, this debate is about whether a border fence should be constructed, not about whether a border fence is to be constructed in accordance with border law. I hope to have shown over the course of my arguments so far that, if the law really says that we should build and improved border fence, then the law should be changed. I haven’t spent that much of my time arguing that a border fence is unjust, but my argument on multiculturalism addresses it.

As for the notion that, if a border fence shouldn’t be constructed, then we shouldn’t have a border at all and should merge with Mexico, this is a slippery slope. Plenty of borders across the world are completely open, and yet different sovereign states exist on all sides of them. In this day in age, borders are pretty well respected (except for in a few trouble areas), so there’s no need to legitimize a border by building a wall on it or by placing extensive security along it.

III. Costs and Effectiveness of the Wall

I’m sure my opponent will have much more to say about this in his next argument, given that he is going to address my previous argument directly. In addition, I don’t have a whole lot of space left. Thus, I’m not going to say much about these two points until my next round. However, I would like to say that I’ve shown above that the costs of the wall could not be recuperated by the supposed decrease in immigration, both because immigrants are, in general, a benefit to the economy and don’t suck up as much government money as is often claimed, and because the border fence is unlikely to deter people from crossing the border.




Cost of The Wall

I have already shown specifically what wall I would advocate being built and the complete costs. My opponent has dropped those arguments I made. He has not disputed the complete cost of the wall, and the rebuttal round was the place to dispute that It is not my fault that My opening arguments coincidentally acted as a rebuttal. A debate about a border wall practically mandates pro makes a statement on the cost to display the wall's affordability. My opponent has dropped the arument that the maintanence of the wall would be just a drop in the bucket of the DHS bucket, less than 2% of their 60 billion dollar bucket. He has not disputed this and it should count as a dropped argument. The only question is if the tiny little amount of money it would take to build the wall is worth it, and it is a tiny little amount. Even if our taxes had to be raised to 1/10 of a penny per paycheck to finance the wall. Nobody would notice the costs.

This all ignores the fact that the border wall pays for itself. If immigrants had a wall in their way instead of just merely being able to take a stroll across the border we could avoid much of the cost for deportation. The cost of deporting an illegal immigrant is $12,500, for a total cost of about 5 billion dollars a year. a border wall is even 50% effective than that portion of the 5 billion alone not only pays for the cost of maintanence, but of building the wall as well, and all evidence suggests the wall will be close to 100% effective.

I do think that voters should see what arguments of various costs they believe and do an impact anlysis to determine if the wall costs more than it saves in money to build. They should also take in the social costs such as the ones I brought up in the last round to detemine if the cost is worth it. Anyway, I have already spent too much time on an argument that my opponent dropped. Moving on.

Benefits of Mexican Immigrants

There is a false conception that it is only Mexican immigrants coming across the border, This is untrue as pointed out about other arguments I made last round but con dropped in the rebuttal round. con had every opportunity but did not rebut that a lot of illegal immigrants come from other countries, and among them some suspected terrorists. Con dropped these arguments, and has forfeited the right to argue against those facts. More on that in the next round. These facts that he dropped tells us it is not just Mexicans crossing the border as my opponents is trying to imply. The loss of over 150 billion on 9/11 which does not account for the hundreds of bilions spent on warfare; , The abiliy to prevent the next 9/11 covers the cost of the wall and is a good financial benefit.

My opponent argues that immigrants contribute a lot to the American economy. The problem with his source is that it considers all immigrants, both legal and illegal, both crossing the border and coming here in other ways. For exaple he mentions that immigrants start a lot of new businesses in the United States, but does not tell us how many of those people are from illegal aliens. I would rightfully assume that a lot of these entrepenuers are from among those who come to America if they agree to invest one million dollars in the economy mostly from starting new businesses.; Many immigrants come here legally on Visas because they have a valuable skill or good education that is in demand. The illegal aliens and desperate people strolling through the border are not the doctors who come here from India or among the lawyers and engineers we welcome into the country legally with open arms. These are the people starting businesses. Not those that come over and work jobs at below minimum wage or leach offthe system.

Immigrants to the United States come in 2 varieties. A large amount of them are high skilled workers or rich entrepenuers, the other half is dirt poor people from the lowest possible socio-economic classes. Claiming that the low skilled variety should be allowed to just flood undocumented over the border because the Doctors and engineers coming over the border contribute a lot to the economy in terms of job creation is ridiculous.

I don't deny there is ssome benefit to having a large body of low skill imigrants, but they should not be coming across the border illegally. My opponent has made a case for the immigrants currently in the U.S., but not for allowing open borders, which is practically what we have considering my stat that 43% of the border has no security at all which my opponent doesn't contest. We can bring in the amount of immigrants our economy requires easily at legal border crossings by loosening rules for immigration, giving out more work visas, and through other means. We don't have to open up our border for drugs, terrorists and criminals to meet our immigration needs. Bringing them in legally has the benefit of giving us control of the flow of immigrants as well as making sure that nobody is bringing over unwanted diseases, and no bad elements are sneaking in with the good guys who merely want to make a better life for themselves.

Effectiveness of the Wall

I have only glossed over my opponents rebuttals because my focus is on rebuttals right now as the guidelines he provided suggests. However I assume he likely ignored my arguments showing how the wall would be close to 100% effective as demonstrated by areas of the United States where it is the case as well as showing how the same wall was effective in Israel and Saudi Arabia. Those arguments work as rebuttals to any silly ladder or tunnel theory that my opponent may suggest.

My opponent says that if the United States builds a wall murderers and rapists would just get temporary VISAs and overstay them. This is untrue for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that applying for VISAs allows the United States to conduct background checks on people in the country of their origin. Instead of degenerates being able to stroll across the 43% of completely ungaurded border, they can be stopped when a background check shows a warrant for their arrest or if they have a criminal history of raping and murdering people. Having immigrants come into the United States legally allows us more discretion and knowledge of people entering the United States.

The other problem with his argument is that the United States does not give out unlimited VISAs. The amount of VISAs is limited. For example permanent VISAs are limited to 140,000 people. If we decided we need more immigrants to enter the United States to maximize the benefit of having them we can raise those numbers up and down at our own will.

The other problem that is obvious with his arguments, is the argument that since people can get in the country illegally through other means that we should just give up on having secure borders. That because a solution is not perfect, we should just open up the floodgates. You don't see anyone arguing that since patrolling the streets and setting up DUI checkpoints is not 100% effective we should just give up on preventing drunk driving, but my opponent uses the same type of argument for immigration. I am starting to get fat so I occasionally eat a salad. I stll drink a lot of beer and eat pizza which is making me fat, but that doesn't mean I should stop eating salad, maybe I should just double down on salads.


The minimal costs of the wall I outlined in the opening round and justified were never contested and it is too late to contest the cheapness of them. My opponent's arguments about ladders and tunnels is silly and my oppening statement though not a rebuttal, effectively acts as a rebuttal. My opponent's opening arguments assume a single fence that can easily be climbed via a fence or by tunnels, but they are useless at a well guarded border that has double walls, a barbed wire tringle in the middle of the walls, tunnel sensors and the ability for guards to react within just a few minutes to capture illegal immigrants before they even have a chance to breach the 2nd wall.

Next round I will explain how the rest of my opponent's arguents are flawed. He drops many of my arguments so that leaves very little I have to contest. Thanks for reading god luck Subutai.
Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank Wylted for this excellent debate.

I. The Cost of a Wall

I will cover everything from my opponent’s round 2 and round 3 arguments here.

The problem with my opponent’s comparison to the Israeli-Palestinian border fence is that only one tenth of the wall is 25 foot concrete wall. The other nine tenths is only a 6 foot electronic wall, which is much cheaper and is easily surmountable. The concrete part of the Israeli fence cost $1.4 billion and was only 33 miles long. If we extend this to 1,000 miles, the length that most of the wall proposals suggest, an analogy to the Israeli-Palestinian border fence actually predicts a value of $42 billion.[1]

But the wall my opponent proposes is more complicated. He’s proposing two walls, each 15 feet in height, with barbed wire in the middle. Assume that the wall extends 5 feet into the ground for stability. Then we’d get that a 25 foot wall would require 30 feet of concrete, and that two 15 foot walls would require 40 feet of concrete. Further, assume that the barbed wire fence is similar to the one along the rest of the Israeli-Palestinian border, which cost $1 billion for 300 miles of fence. Finally, assume the wall extends for 1,000 miles along the border (with the rest being guarded by natural features). With all of these assumptions we get that the wall my opponent proposes would cost $58 billion, which is over three times the $16 billion number my opponent is proposing. Now imagine if the government was really that inefficient as my opponent thinks it is. Then this already large number would increase by a factor of five.[1]

And this still doesn’t include the cost of cameras, sensors, and other technology that would be needed to police the wall. Even if we reduce the wall to 700 miles in length, even if the barbed wire fence is ditched, the wall would still cost in excess of $50 billion. And while maintenance would “only” cost somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion, this is still a lot of money in the long term.[2]

So, in conclusion, if my opponent’s analogy is correct, we get a wall that costs $58 billion and requires $1.5 billion in manning and maintenance every year. This is an awfully large investment to make, especially considering that, as I’ve shown and will continue to show, a wall is ineffective and most immigrants, including Mexican immigrants, are beneficial. That’s a tax increase of $182 per person, by the way.

As for the costs of deportation, remember what I said in the last round that a border wall doesn’t so much prevent immigrants from crossing the border so much as it does make it easier for them to be found. Thus, deportation would still be an issue. I could also argue that we should reform the immigration policies to be friendlier to Mexican immigrants, which would negate the cost of deportation. Either way, current deportation costs are irrelevant.

II. The Effectiveness of a Wall

There is one major problem with a comparison to the Israeli-Palestinian border fence in terms of effectiveness. This is that the border is much smaller and more densely populated, meaning that a wall, which slows down migrants by a few minutes or so, would be very effective, as there’s bound to be an immigration officer near the part of the border they’re trying to cross. However, the U.S.-Mexico border is much longer and, except for a few small areas, much less populated. In this case, slowing down a migrant by a few minutes isn’t going to make that much difference.[2]

As for the effectiveness of the border fence around Yuma, this is because Yuma is only one small part of the border. After the wall there was constructed, it became easier to go around the wall than through it. If this fence is extended to the entire border, immigrants, faced with no other option, would simply return to scaling the fence again.

Also, note that the wall along the Saudi Arabia-Iraq border is currently being constructed, so any claims as to its effectiveness cannot be evaluated yet.[3]

On the overstayed visa point, my opponent provides two rather nonsensical rebuttals. The first is only relevant to immigrants who are convicted of rape or murder. Mexico’s criminal system is very corrupt. In fact, one study found that 92% of crimes in Mexico aren’t reported. Given the fact that rape is, in general, reported less than other crimes, it is probable that the rate of rapes in Mexico that aren’t reported is even higher. Thus, stopping convicted criminals would only stop a small percentage of the criminals that are trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico. In addition, most Mexican immigrants aren’t criminals, and my opponent doesn’t consider how easy it is for them to obtain visas.[4]

The second argument is completely irrelevant. Mexicans don’t apply for permanent visas, they apply for temporary visas. You can’t overstay a permanent visa anyway. And in 2015 alone, over 10 million temporary visas were issued, so there doesn’t seem to be a cap on the number of temporary visas.[5]

III. The Benefits of Mexican Immigrants

I actually have talked about whether or not people from other places besides Mexico and Central America cross the U.S.-Mexico border. See my paragraph beginning with, “The border between” in my round three argument. It is also worth noting that all of the terrorists that took part in the 9/11 attacks were issued visas and did not enter the country by crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.[6]

While my opponent makes a potentially good point that it may only be the legal immigrants that are contributing to the U.S. economy, he fails to cite any sources that prove it. The only source he cites is simply an infographic on how businessmen can enter the U.S. through its system of visas. Even so, I’ll add a few things to my argument here.

One, regardless, all immigrants contribute to the GDP. Once they reach the U.S., they have to buy things, which immediately gets included in the GDP count. Consider Texas for instance. A report by Texas comptroller Susan Combs said that, “Without the undocumented population, Texas’ work force would decrease by 6.3 percent”, and that the GDP of Texas would fall by 2.1%. This is similar to the GDP effect removing an equivalent number of low skilled U.S. citizens from Texas would do to the economy.[7]

Two, Mexican immigrants do indeed start businesses. “The late USC professor and immigration expert Harry Pachon estimated that 8 to 10 percent of undocumented people in America are legal entrepreneurs. If that’s true, it would mean this subset of immigrants owns hundreds of thousands of U.S. businesses.” While that percentage is slightly smaller than that of U.S. citizens (which is around 12%), it is still rather large, and means that many businesses are created because of Mexican immigrants.[8]

And three, Mexican immigrants have plenty of other benefits. Studies have shown that they are responsible for the creation of 8.1 million jobs in the U.S., that they increase the average household income of U.S. citizens, and that they pay more in taxes than they receive in government services. On the last point, “There is a fairly broad consensus that the present value of the long-run net fiscal impact of unauthorized immigration, at all levels of government combined, is small but positive—meaning that immigration reduces overall budget deficits.” Mexican immigrants still pay taxes, such as sales taxes on the items they buy and property taxes on the property they own or rent, and they also pay into social security, as most of them have jobs.[9][10][11]

If my opponent would rather have the immigrants be legal, then we should pursue a policy of immigration reform, as a wall is going to do nothing to reform immigration. I’ve explained how a wall is ineffective and how criminals could simply subvert the wall through various means.

My opponent has dropped my multiculturalism point as well. It was important, given how I described multiculturalism as a positive trait and how an effective wall would prevent it.


The wall, according to my opponent’s specifications, would cost at least $58 billion, plus an additional $2 billion every year in maintenance. It will not be effective, as Mexican immigrants will simply overstay their visas, attempt to scale the wall anyway through the use of ladders or tunnels, or go through the areas the wall isn’t located. Consequently, it will fail to keep out terrorists, murderers, rapists, drug dealers, and other criminals and will also fail to keep out contraband and drugs. Thus, the costs simply aren’t worth it. But even if the wall worked well enough to offset the costs, it would still negatively impact the economy by taking away the positive effect Mexican immigrants have on GDP, business growth, jobs, and government income. A wall also discourages multiculturalism, which is a positive thing. Therefore, a border wall should not be built between the U.S. and Mexico.




Con's arguments on cost and effectiveness should have came in round 3, any made after that should be disregarded as per the rules he created and posted in round 1.

With that being said I want to start by summarizing my thoughts on the debate up to this point. I typically do that as a final point, but will do it here, just because I feel like it. I don't think my oppnent made a good case, but if you disagree than he made a good case for legal immigration, not allowing illegal immigration. If we need a high flow of immigration to sustain our economic growth than it should be legal.

My opponents arguments/rebuttals can be summed up into a few points. One point is that If we stop illegal immigration over the border it will not completely stop an inflow of drugs or disease or terrorists or a number of other things I mentioned. This is like arguing one should not put a lock on their front door to stop burglers, because there is no lock on their back door. This is silly for two reasons. The first is that there is nothing about putting a lock on the front door that prevents us from putting a lock on the backdoor as well. We should not let the intruder through the front door, merely because one also managed to get through the back door. To put it another way, an extension of con's logic would have him not allowing police to patrol the street because they can't prevent all crimes from happening. I'll refer back to this point a few times because my opponent has made the argument more than once that we should not prevent whatever bad effect illegal immigration across the border causes, because it only reduces the likelihood of said effect occurring and does not completely eradicate it. As if any policy would eradicate anything entirely, and as if it is not worth it to reduce the number of bad things occurring at a significatnt rate.

Another argument routinely made is that ilegal immigration would just increase by overstaying VISAS, which is clearly preferrable than illegally crossing over through he border, at least with an overstay we can track who is coming into the United States, we can make sure whoever does get through is background tested, fully immunized and not carrying contagious diseases. Even if they overstay their visit we still have made America better, we have still made life for the immigrants who often die trying to get to America illegally, better by giving them a safer point of entry. No longer will they fear dying crossing such horrible terrain, nor do they have to fear being raped at a rate of over 80% to get here. They can finally be safe once we build a wall and allow for easier legal immigration.

Another big argument my opponent keeps making is that building a wall is pointless because the current wall doesn't work, which if the current wall was effective we wouldn't be debating this. The current wall barely exists and is often just a single fence, there is also an enourmous amount of terrain not covered by the fence. If the fence was of any quality and extended across the border we would not be having it. My opponent argues that a wall will just have people building tunnels or throwing ladders over it. Which even if that was the case would slow them down and allow for easier capture, but it won't as this is not your typical single layer fence. It is a double layer fence with a barbed wire triangle in the center. It is impossible to just throw a ladder over it as my opponent implies.

The Real Reason for the Fence

1.Rape- In my round 2 I pointed out that over 80% of women and even young girls are raped when coming across the Mexican-American border. This is something unacceptable when we can just build a wall and bring them in legally to avoid being taken advantage of by people smugglers. My opponent says: "One of the main reasons women in particular are immigrating to the U.S. in the first place is because they are fleeing rape." I guess his point being since these girls fear rape in their own country, we should just allow them to get raped by having open borders. Even if my opponent's statement was completely honest, we should not trade their fear of rape for actual rape. Not when we can bring them in legally like I said before. Not when we can bring them in a safe and sensible way. We do not have to allow the flood gates to open, just to take in some drinking water. There is another problem with my opponent's rape argument besides that obvious fact. It only comes from interviewing Salvadoran children,which make up only about 16,000 of the 800,000 people crossing the border illegally.(assuming central American children are spread equally)

Assuming the kid's fears are justified (Which hasn't been shown), Allowing practically every woman to get raped outside of that demographic is unethical. Hell even allowing the rape of those 16,000 kids my opponent mentioned instead of providing them refuge would be unethical.

2. Ladders and tunnels and holes oh my- In round 2 I showed how a similar wall in Israel took illegal immigratrion across the border from over 10,000 a year to under 36. I gave evidence that a fence in the Yuka area caused illegal immigration to drop 94%. Here is what my opponent says on the subject, and notice that he drops my arguments that a fence designed the way I suggested would be close to 100% effective. He never once challenged my examples so they stand: "It is designed less to stop people from crossing the border illegally than to apprehend them once they have crossed.” This means that migrants are still going to go through difficult terrain, still causing thousands of them to die every year. It's just that it would potentially be easier to apprehend them after they cross the border fence." The argument is silly for a number of reasons, one is that given he accepts my examples that the fence would be 100% effective, and if we assume that the fence would make apprehension easier, but not necessarilty be good at stopping immigrants in their tracks, than he is making the argument that even though there is a near 100% chance illegal immigrants will get caught at the border, they will still continue to cross in the same numbers. I doubt this theory for obvious reasons and he has not supported his. It seems to me that if somebody knew for close to 100% certainty they would fail they would be less likely to make an attempt at it. Like I stated before, 43% of he border is completely unguarded. That is a huge incentive to attempt to come into the country illegally. With my proposal 0% would be unguarded, destroying much of the motivation for even attempting to come in illegally. refer back to my effectiveness arguments in round 2 to see that my opponent completely dropped them in his rebuttals.

3.Terrorists- Suspected terrorists have been caught crossing the border. I have cited this fact, and no rebuttal for my citation occurred. We can't completely stop terrorists from coming in but, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to shore them up the security weaknesses we can. Refer back to the argument on locks earlier this round. Con argues that none of the suspected terrorists caught at the border has had weapons. The terrorists that committed 9-11 did not have weapons from outside the country. The Boston bombers did not have weapons from outside the country. The Oklahoma City bombing was not committed by using weapons found in another country. Terrorists don't bring weapons from other countries, they just go to the pawn shop and get them. This is why they need to be stopped at the border. Each one of those attacks cost billions, just a one prevented pays for the wall, and we have caught terrorist crossing the border. A fact I cited in round 2 which my opponent does not refute.

4. Environment- My opponent's source does not back up his claim that new species are somehow introduced by a wall, but beyond that sedimentation problems can be negated by creating tunnels that allow the free flow of water. Animal crossings that can detect humans have been suggested and can be put into the wall. Overall the environmental problems are overstated and easy to mitigate with a few tweaks to the wall once we begin to notice the problems.

5. Healthcare- My arguments on how much illegal immigrants cost taxpayers needs to be reviewed by the judges. Con has offerred two sources that illegal immigrants pay more into the sytem than they take out. His 6th source is for 2nd generation hispanic immigrants and not relevent to a debate on the effects of illegal immigration. His 5th source is about medicare and not the healthcare system overall. Most illegal immigrants do not have medicare. a recap of round 2. Illegals in California are more likely to go to the emergency room costing California billions alone for the uninsured illegal immigrants. (most) They also spread disease to others who we have to pay for through taxes or higher premiums.

6. Political Change- My opponent brings up political leaders better able to escape tyranny and create change from outside their homelands. There are 2 problems with this. The first is he is referring to highly influential political leaders, this is not something that can be done by the average Joe. The 2nd problem is he is referring to undemocratic societies. Obviously voters in a Democratic society can more easily make change by staying and voting then by having all people upset with the system just leave.

7. Crime- Con's Crime statistics once again included legal immigrants while mine only referred to illegals.


We don't need to deport the illegals currently here con has argued we benefit from to build a wall. We can keep those benefits. If it is beneficial to have a large flow of immigrants we can still have that, but in a controlled sensible and legal way. The cost of the wall is affordable as argued in round 2, but the arguments were dropped.
Debate Round No. 4
54 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wylted 4 months ago
You weren't impressed by anyone's arguments?

That tells me you thinkbyou have better ones, but it isn't true, because yours have not seen battle, you only think yoursbare bettwr because they have not faced resistance
Posted by Unitomic 4 months ago
RFV 1: Firstly, I decide where I put my vote. I don't do "If my rule is broke, I get all the points" declarations. I decide if breaking a rule is enough to discredit a debater.

Secondly, I wasn't overwelmingly impressed by anyones arguments. But I must decide which is better.

Pro's arguments don't really discuss a new wall. It discuss' the flaws with the old wall. He largely fails to convince me that the new wall would carry the same flaws, and fails to convince me that the new wall won't fix the problems. He didn't fulfil BOP with most of his arguments. I believe this lack of impact is possibly fatal.

Pro's argument about the benefits of Immigrants was highly flawed. Con showed this well enough in Round 3 where he mentions that Pro's statements include legal immigrants as well. I agree with Con here. Pro does attack the lack of sources. I don't bite though. This is an instance where he doesn't need a source, given that he is responding to Pro's argument. Pro's argument has a source. Con's alligations do in fact match Pro's source. In that regards, Pro's Source can be considered to be Con's as well. He does mention his multiculturalism point, and it being dropped. I find his remarks about multiculturalism to be wasted characters however, given that he doesn't show multiculturalism to be reliant on illegals (given that Con mentions that not all immigrants are illegal, I don't find Con to have dropped the argument at all). Pro moves forward however with the claim that all immigrants contribute. While it's true, he also mentions their contribution is slightly under that of legal citizens. I feel that hinders the impact, as I find it hard to accept that their contribution large enough.
Posted by Unitomic 4 months ago
RFV 2: Pro's strongest case is that the wall won't stop illegals from entering. This case is in fact well countered by Con's claim that it makes it harder to come in without a Visa (and the value of that visa). As Con Says, the United States can show greater discretion and knowledge when they are entered via Visa. His "Open up the Floodgates" remark is a major flaw in Pro's case. Pro counters the Visa remark by bringing up the lack of criminal records among mexicans. This does hinder Con's statements. Also hindering is the facts about the unlimited temp visas. Also damaging is the reference to 9/11 terrorists having Visas (although Con simply said terrorists, not mentioning the 9/11 terrorists in particular. His source does in fact show terrorists have been apprehanded on the border). However, still standing is the ability to keep some eye on Visa holders, at least in a far greater degree then border crossers. In that regards, Con walks away with this one, even if somewhat bruised.

Pro includes in his case that immigrants can simply use ladders and tunnels. Con clearly wins in pointing out that his wall won't be beat by a ladder. Tunnel Sensors are also not exactly science fiction. A double (or triple, depending on how you view the pyramid) wall with tunnel sensors and guards nearby would be nearly unbreachable. As Con has mentioned, the wall may force most illegals to cross with Visas. Pro drops these altogether. That is crippling to Pro's side.

Pro mentions early on the cost of the wall. This is a difficult one given the Con also gives his own cost, and Pro doesn't really counter it. Ultimately I didn't find cost important enough (or easily enough determined) to influence my decision. Perhaps if the cost given was lower (or higher) by a substantial enough margin, I would have been impressed. Instead, the costs given are at about the right point where it could either be too much or low enough. The position was not effectively altered by arguments.
Posted by Unitomic 4 months ago
RFV 3: Pro does mention past examples of walls failing. How these past walls failed to stop illegal immigrants is really beyond me. He doesn't list any examples of them failing to stop mass illegal immigration. He listed only military actions against the walls, which don't fulfil BOP on illegal immigrants.

Pro mentions that the wall is too long to be properly defended, but he doesn't really explain how, given that Con's wall design has already presented how far apart each guard post is. He also claims that, if the whole border is walled, the illegal immigrants would simply begin taking the less efficiant approach of scaling. I think this argument works against him however. I am entertained that Pro claims the Saudi-Iraqi border wall can't be evaluated in effectiveness yet, when that is exactly what he is doing with the potental new US-Mexican Border Wall.

Con provides a different idea for how to set up a wall. It's a generally effective design from how I am looking at it. He does explain substantially how it works throughout his 4 rounds. Pro doesn't really show the flaw in his system. Some of his remarks makes me question how much he paid attention to Cons wall design, as he seems to continue to mention "unwalled regions", which won't exist under Con's wall design. He mentions cost, which again, I don't find high enough to descredit it's building. In fact, most of his counter seems to be cost.
Posted by Unitomic 4 months ago
RFV 4: Con makes a substantial case about the cost of removing illegal immigrants. His case that preventing them from entering being a net gain for us is well figured, even if on principle. Whether it offsets the cost of the wall is alot more ambiquous, which is why it doesn't effectively alter my position on cost as mentioned earlier. I agree with him also that you can make room for immigrants without needing to leave our border open to everything else. One thing Pro did was claim that the deportation was still an issue. While it is true that people will try to get past the wall, Con is correct that the wall would intimidate many away from trying.

Con makes the claim that keeping Dissidents in Mexico would help Mexico. Pro responds that historical change in corrupt societies happened when dissidents got out, so they can prepare to return. Con is right to point out that these dissidents are typically leaders, not average men. He is also right to mention that democratic societies are best changed from the inside, not the outside. However, it's a delicate matter. And I can't bring myself to take sides in that debate.

Con also makes a claim that the wall is entirely efficient. Even if that make be excessive, Pro didn't give any legitimate counter outside of repeating his prior claims. Claims which don't deal the new wall, therefore don't really counter Pro at all.

In the end, I must agree with Con. Pro's Arguments either fail to address the new wall (addressing instead the flaws with the old one), or fails effectively to address his opponent. Most of his standing arguments are countered to some degree of efficiency. Con's arguments are substantial, and are not countered enough for my tastes. Con wins out here.

If the Voting system were 7-point, the vote would be far from one-sided. But with only one point to give, I must give it to Con.
Posted by n7 4 months ago
Don't know if I'll have time to vote. Internet isn't constant and tbh I'm not sure who to vote for....
Posted by Wylted 4 months ago
Thanks Romanii
Posted by Romanii 4 months ago
This was probably one of Wylted's best debate performances.
Posted by Wylted 4 months ago
Me too
Posted by fire_wings 4 months ago
I'm doing my vote, but I'm kinda lazy, but I'll probably finish it in 8 days.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Unitomic 4 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFV in Comments.
Vote Placed by tejretics 4 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: I don't buy Pro's point on efficacy because, as Con correctly notes, all of Pro's responses are highly speculative, since it's clear that (1) people will be deterred from crossing the border due to a border wall, (2) a border wall would be heavily policed, and (3) that other examples, even if not directly analogous to Con's proposal, of border fences have worked before. There are tangible harms to illegal immigration, e.g. disease spread and crime, which would be reduced by a border wall, and all of Pro's responses rely on efficacy. Pro fails to make a clear distinction between immigrants that cross the border illegally and immigration as a whole when listing the economic benefits, so there's no clear impact from the reduced benefits to immigration. Furthermore, Con significantly mitigates these benefits by showing that encouraging legal immigration solves. Since Con wins multiple harms to illegal immigration and Pro's disadvantages are much smaller on magnitude, I vote Con.
Vote Placed by Romanii 4 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision:
Vote Placed by Peepette 4 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD at
Vote Placed by Danielle 4 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Comment section RFD
Vote Placed by Udel 4 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: I voted on this debate as part of the DDO voters union and my RFD can be found here