The Instigator
ChrisF
Con (against)
Tied
4 Points
The Contender
GeneralGG
Pro (for)
Tied
4 Points

The US-Mexico Border Fence is a Good Idea

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/15/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,479 times Debate No: 35620
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (2)

 

ChrisF

Con

Thank you in advance to whoever accepts this challenge. Just as a heads up this is my first debate, so please forgive me if I don't quite fulfill expectation.

Round one is just for acceptance, round two for opening statements, three and four for rebuttals, and five for closing statements.
GeneralGG

Pro

I'll take you on. This is my first debate on this site as well. Best of luck!
Debate Round No. 1
ChrisF

Con

To start out I would like to make a few points.

1) The Mexican government, as well as the majority of the population of Mexico, are opposed to the barriers in place along the US-Mexico border.

2) The barriers along the border make it more and more dangerous for illegal immigrants to cross into the United States, but yet fail to stop them. It only leads them to take more risky actions, such as cross rivers and gain assistance from smugglers and drug dealers, which can easily go badly.

3) The fences along the border interrupt the movement of wildlife within its natural habitat. Two species affected are the Reticulate Collared Lizard and Coues' Rice Rat in Texas. [1]

4) Lands belonging to several Native American nations are split by the border, and any barriers along the border would isolate the Native American communities on one side of the border from those on the other, separating friends and families from each other. [2]

5) The barriers make it harder for those who simply want a better life in the United States. With the fences in place, any who want to immigrate to the US have to go through much more difficult, and sometimes dangerous, paths to escape from drug-related violence, poverty, or whatever it is that has motivated them to leave their homes.

[1]: http://www.utexas.edu...
[2]: http://www.thenativepress.com...
GeneralGG

Pro

I'll start out with some facts about illegal immigration from Mexico to the US and how it creates problems for Americans:

- The US"Mexico border has the 2nd highest number of illegal crossings of any land border in the world, with an estimated 500,000 entries each year.
- Illegal immigrants are estimated to cost the US millions in lost income tax revenue, and they also overburden welfare and healthcare programs, draining government funds. They also affect employment rates of native low skilled workers by increasing competition for certain jobs.
- Illegal Mexican immigration has also caused an influx of crime, especially drug trafficking and gang violence. Quoting US government officials: "Drug smuggling fosters, subsidizes, and is dependent upon continued illegal immigration and alien smuggling"*
- Harmful effects inflicted on the environment are another result of illegal immigration. The average illegal immigrant crossing the US-Mexico border leaves behind 8 pounds of trash, which translates into 2,000 tons of trash dumped by immigrants every year.

These numbers and effects can be greatly reduced by constructing a fence along the US-Mexico border. Establishing a physical barrier and using high-tech surveillance and patrol methods don't only decrease the number of illegal immigrants; they also deter them.

The border fence isn't just a dream. It has already been constructed in many places along the border and have generally proven to be successful. Here's an example: In the early 1990s, the amount of people crossing the border in the San Diego region illegally every year was estimated at 600,000. After the construction of a fence and increased border patrols, that number dropped to just 153,000 in 2007.

Sources:
http://www.wikipedia.org...
http://www.migrationinformation.org...
*http://commdocs.house.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
ChrisF

Con

To challenge my opponents points:

1) "Here's an example: In the early 1990s, the amount of people crossing the border in the San Diego region illegally every year was estimated at 600,000. After the construction of a fence and increased border patrols, that number dropped to just 153,000 in 2007."

Although the number of immigrants crossing the border in certain areas may have decreased, the overall number of immigrants has done quite the opposite. In the year 1992, there were an estimated 3.4 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, or 1.3% of the American population. By 2011, the number had increased to 11.5 million, or 3.7% of the population. Meaning, there were more than three times as many illegal immigrants in the United States in 2011 than in 1992. [1] Clearly, the border fence is failing to actually stop illegal immigration, and is simply making it more costly and more dangerous for Mexicans, and increasing taxes for Americans.

2) "Illegal immigrants are estimated to cost the US millions in lost income tax revenue, and they also overburden welfare and healthcare programs, draining government funds. They also affect employment rates of native low skilled workers by increasing competition for certain jobs."

A good deal of the money that illegal immigration drains from American taxes is used in order to maintain and upgrade the various barriers along the US-Mexico border, as well as pay the salaries of border patrol agents. Much of the rest is due to the use of welfare, free school lunches, and other social programs, many of which are used by legal immigrants as well as ordinary American citizens. Illegal immigrants also tend to be willing to do jobs that would be harder to fill otherwise, many of which are important, although undesirable.

3) "Harmful effects inflicted on the environment are another result of illegal immigration. The average illegal immigrant crossing the US-Mexico border leaves behind 8 pounds of trash, which translates into 2,000 tons of trash dumped by immigrants every year."

According to a study by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009, the average American throws away 7.1 pounds of trash everyday. [2] This means that the average illegal immigrant only leaves behind about 0.9 pounds of trash more than the average American, and while they're crossing the border. The interruption of the natural habitats and migrations of native animal species are a larger concern, greatly disrupting the way the animals were used to living.

[1]: http://immigration.procon.org...;
[2]: http://www.govtech.com...;
GeneralGG

Pro

First of all, to counter my opponents' points:

a) The fences along the border interrupt the movement of wildlife within its natural habitat. Two species affected are the Reticulate Collared Lizard and Coues' Rice Rat in Texas.

While environmental concerns are certainly serious and warrant consideration, we need to balance competing interests here. Only a handful of species that would be threatened by this project, and the endangered species in question can be moved into specially-designed preservation facilities that mimic the natural habitat. On the other hand, there is no other truly effective way to stop illegal immigrant crossings. In this sense, the local environment is a sacrifice of necessity.

b) The barriers along the border make it more and more dangerous for illegal immigrants to cross into the United States, but yet fail to stop them. It only leads them to take more risky actions, such as cross rivers and gain assistance from smugglers and drug dealers, which can easily go badly.

The role of concentrated fencing around urban areas in particular is to prevent immigrants from blending immediately into a city population, and in that sense, it has been effective. Even if you divert some illegal immigrant traffic elsewhere along the border, fencing still reduces overall rates of crossing by forcing those who would cross to go through more dangerous and barren territory. This is a significant deterrent. Although there are people who partake in riskier courses of action to continue to cross, most of the would-be illegal immigrants are deterred. You can also step up border patrols in the areas that do not cover the fence to catch drug smugglers and other illegal border crossers. This reduces the overall number of border patrol agents required to catch would-be illegal immigrants, and as a result, reduces the long-term costs of border protection measures. The fence is meant to be merely a tool in the tool box, not a comprehensive solution to the problem of illegal immigration.

c) The barriers make it harder for those who simply want a better life in the United States. With the fences in place, any who want to immigrate to the US have to go through much more difficult, and sometimes dangerous, paths to escape from drug-related violence, poverty, or whatever it is that has motivated them to leave their homes.

Law-abaiding citizens have no reaon to fear the border fence. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is an extensive government department that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. Their mission is to secure America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to their customers and granting immigration and citizenship benefits. They will allow people who deserve who possess good character, good work ethic, and a good record to enter the United States. The border fence is only to prevent illegal immigration.


Next, to rebuff my opponents' counterpoint:

a) Although the number of immigrants crossing the border in certain areas may have decreased, the overall number of immigrants has done quite the opposite. In the year 1992, there were an estimated 3.4 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, or 1.3% of the American population. By 2011, the number had increased to 11.5 million, or 3.7% of the population. Meaning, there were more than three times as many illegal immigrants in the United States in 2011 than in 1992. [1] Clearly, the border fence is failing to actually stop illegal immigration, and is simply making it more costly and more dangerous for Mexicans, and increasing taxes for Americans.

The goal of the fence is to reduce illegal immigration rates, not eliminate them. You say that the number of of illegal immigrants have greatly increased. That is true. But the amount of apprehensions made have decreased by 72% since the construction of the border fence. Yes, there are three times as many illegal immigrants residing in the US, but have you ever thought what the number might have been if there wasn't a border fence? It's true that illegal immigration that will continue to be a problem in the near future, but the border fence is the first step to solving it. And the overall cost of securing the border has actually decreased due to the fact that manning the fence requires less manpower and equipment then physicaly patrolling the border.


Sources:
- http://www.csmonitor.com...
- http://www.washingtonpost.com...
-
http://idebate.org...
Debate Round No. 3
ChrisF

Con

To counter my opponent's arguments

1) "While environmental concerns are certainly serious and warrant consideration, we need to balance competing interests here. Only a handful of species that would be threatened by this project, and the endangered species in question can be moved into specially-designed preservation facilities that mimic the natural habitat. On the other hand, there is no other truly effective way to stop illegal immigrant crossings. In this sense, the local environment is a sacrifice of necessity. "

Although in several cases it would be easy enough to just move species out of the area, the fence still gets in the way of migration routes that have been in use for hundreds and hundreds of years. Moving the animals would only further disrupt the habitats and migration of the various species.

2) "The role of concentrated fencing around urban areas in particular is to prevent immigrants from blending immediately into a city population, and in that sense, it has been effective. Even if you divert some illegal immigrant traffic elsewhere along the border, fencing still reduces overall rates of crossing by forcing those who would cross to go through more dangerous and barren territory. This is a significant deterrent. Although there are people who partake in riskier courses of action to continue to cross, most of the would-be illegal immigrants are deterred. You can also step up border patrols in the areas that do not cover the fence to catch drug smugglers and other illegal border crossers. This reduces the overall number of border patrol agents required to catch would-be illegal immigrants, and as a result, reduces the long-term costs of border protection measures. The fence is meant to be merely a tool in the tool box, not a comprehensive solution to the problem of illegal immigration."

The fence only truly has any effect on people crossing the border illegaly on land. There are many other ways to get across the border. For example, many illegal Mexican immigrants cross the Rio Grande into Texas. Another common way immigrants cross the border is by legally obtaining work visas, allowing them to temporarily live in the United States in order to work. However, when these visas expire, they simply remain in the United States instead of leaving. A fence would fail entirely at preventing this from happening, and it seems a waste of American taxpayer's money to pay to upgrade a "tool," as you say, which only solves one part of a problem, and only partially.

3) "Law-abaiding citizens have no reaon to fear the border fence. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is an extensive government department that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. Their mission is to secure America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to their customers and granting immigration and citizenship benefits. They will allow people who deserve who possess good character, good work ethic, and a good record to enter the United States. The border fence is only to prevent illegal immigration."

The reason that most people immigrate illegally into the United States from Mexico has nothing to do with bad character, a bad record, or a poor work ethic. Actually quite the opposite, especially in the case of the work ethics of illegal immigrants. Many of them are willing to be paid less for jobs than others, and do jobs considered undesirable by others. The main reason for illegal immigration is that legal immigration is a long, expensive process, that many simply cannot afford to go through. Illegal immigration is their only chance, short of marrying an American citizen.

4) "The goal of the fence is to reduce illegal immigration rates, not eliminate them. You say that the number of of illegal immigrants have greatly increased. That is true. But the amount of apprehensions made have decreased by 72% since the construction of the border fence. Yes, there are three times as many illegal immigrants residing in the US, but have you ever thought what the number might have been if there wasn't a border fence? It's true that illegal immigration that will continue to be a problem in the near future, but the border fence is the first step to solving it. And the overall cost of securing the border has actually decreased due to the fact that manning the fence requires less manpower and equipment then physicaly patrolling the border. "

I'm not sure if this was a typo or not, but you say the number of apprehensions have decreased by 72%. So what you are saying is, the number of illegal immigrants is going up, but fewer and fewer are being caught.

Lastly, I'd like to add a point of my own.

Illegal immigrants do not only come from Mexico. They come from Canada, Cuba, Africa, Asia, and all over the world. It is a known fact that many illegal Cuban immigrants live in Miami, and more than 70% of the citizens of Miami are of Hispanic descent. [1] So why is there no fence along the Gulf coast? Or the Canadian border? Why are there no billion dollar fence systems in place along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans? Why is Mexico so important that we need only build fences to stop Mexicans from coming into America?

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org...;
GeneralGG

Pro

To counter my opponents' points:

a) "Although in several cases it would be easy enough to just move species out of the area, the fence still gets in the way of migration routes that have been in use for hundreds and hundreds of years. Moving the animals would only further disrupt the habitats and migration of the various species."

Although you are correct in this sense, I have stated before and I will state again: The local environment is a sacrifice of necessity in the interest of the United States of America, and moving species out of the area will help offset some of the negative environmental impacts of the fence. Sometimes small sacrifices are necessary in the pursuit of a bigger objective, and this situation is one such example.

b) "The fence only truly has any effect on people crossing the border illegally on land. There are many other ways to get across the border. For example, many illegal Mexican immigrants cross the Rio Grande into Texas. Another common way immigrants cross the border is by legally obtaining work visas, allowing them to temporarily live in the United States in order to work. However, when these visas expire, they simply remain in the United States instead of leaving. A fence would fail entirely at preventing this from happening, and it seems a waste of American taxpayer's money to pay to upgrade a "tool," as you say, which only solves one part of a problem, and only partially."

The difficulty of securing the border should not prevent the US from trying with a fence. Just because the fence will be difficult to build, will encounter problems, and will not be 100% effective, does not mean that it should not be built. Of course problems will exist, but the important thing is that it will add a level of additional security to American borders, which is of essential importance to American sovereignty.

In regards to your point about immigrants overstaying their visa expiry dates, I believe that it is irrelevant to the topic at hand. It is true that the border fence does nothing to stop this problem, but my question for you is: What will? Sure, you can have police and immigration departments to widespread searching and verifying of the existing immigrant population, but that would cost billions of dollars and provoke major protests, and might not even catch all of the illegal immigrants. There is simply no practical solution to this problem. The goal of the border fence is to stop illegal border crossings, which is a one aspect in solving the overall problem of stopping illegal immigration. A tool's job is to solve one part of a problem. A toolbox is used to solve the entire problem. Some other methods used to complement the border fence include technological tools such as camera systems, satellite, radar, and sensors. You can also impose criminal penalties which may include fines and/or prison time for any employer who knowingly or recklessly employs an illegal alien. This reduces an illegal immigrants' chances of employment and increases the likeliness of getting caught.

The fence does not completely stop illegal immigration, true, but nothing can truly be 100% effective. It does, however, reduce illegal immigration rates through a combination of making regions easier to patrol and harder to enter, as well as deterring a certain amount of illegal immigrants. As a result, this fence is not a "waste of taxpayer money", as you say. The relative cost of the border fence is actually quite low. Although $2 billion seems like a lot of money, it pales in comparison to the $5.3 billion that the US spends in Iraq every month [1], and the fence is part of a solid solution to a major domestic problem.

c) "The reason that most people immigrate illegally into the United States from Mexico has nothing to do with bad character, a bad record, or a poor work ethic. Actually quite the opposite, especially in the case of the work ethics of illegal immigrants. Many of them are willing to be paid less for jobs than others, and do jobs considered undesirable by others. The main reason for illegal immigration is that legal immigration is a long, expensive process, that many simply cannot afford to go through. Illegal immigration is their only chance, short of marrying an American citizen."

Just because something is difficult to achieve legally doesn't mean that you should take illegal action to accomplish it. Let's say that someone injured me in an accident where the fault is in his hands. A lawsuit is a long, expensive process. Then is it justified for me to go and harm or extort money from the person who injured me in the accident? Of course not! Illegal immigrants are, no matter how noble or justified their intentions are, criminals. Although I personally don't think that they should be treated as such, they are breaking the law and ignoring the right of a sovereign nation to control cross-border flows. In addition, it is unfair to legal immigrants waiting in line to immigrate to the US to observe illegal immigrants crossing freely.

Although we are on opposing sides, I would have to agree with your point that immigration is a long, expensive process that many cannot afford to go through. However, there is a possibility for immigration reform, another tool in the toolbox, which will help immigrants find a better way to immigrate legally to the United States. But I have to state that this point does not make much sense. How does the fact that the long and expensive process of immigration provokes illegal immigration support your main opinion that "The US-Mexico border fence is not a good idea"? Doesn't increased illegal immigration even more justifies the construction of a border fence?

d) "I'm not sure if this was a typo or not, but you say the number of apprehensions have decreased by 72%. So what you are saying is, the number of illegal immigrants is going up, but fewer and fewer are being caught."

Your statistics state that the amount of illegal immigrants have increased from 1992 to 2011. But you have neglected to notice that construction on the border fence was only completed in 2010. And according to a Department of Homeland Security report, from 2008 to 2010 the amount of illegal immigrants residing in the United States have decreased by 800,000 people, or 7%. Therefore, your argument is incorrect; there has been both a decline in apprehensions and illegal immigrant population.

e) "Illegal immigrants do not only come from Mexico. They come from Canada, Cuba, Africa, Asia, and all over the world. It is a known fact that many illegal Cuban immigrants live in Miami, and more than 70% of the citizens of Miami are of Hispanic descent. [1] So why is there no fence along the Gulf coast? Or the Canadian border? Why are there no billion dollar fence systems in place along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans? Why is Mexico so important that we need only build fences to stop Mexicans from coming into America?"

Mexico is important because 62% percent of illegal immigrants, arrive in the US via the Mexican border. Mexico shares a land border with the United States, therefore it is easier to cross than via sea or air (ports and airports have tighter security regulations). The only other land border with the US is Canada, and because of the fact that the standard of living between the two nations are generally the same, it is estimated that there are only a total of 50,000 to 65,000 of illegal immigrants living in the US that came from Canada. Your idea to construct fence systems across oceans and the Gulf coast are illogical, and therefore irrelevant.

Sources:

- http://www.rasmussenreports.com...
- http://www.dhs.gov...
- http://www.wikipedia.org...

[1] http://usatoday30.usatoday.com...
Debate Round No. 4
ChrisF

Con

ChrisF forfeited this round.
GeneralGG

Pro

The US-Mexican border fence is a practical way to help stop illegal immigration and the problems it causes. The border fence has:

- Reduced illegal immigration rates
- Helped defend the economy of the United States
- Reduced the influx of drugs and crime across the border
- Strengthened national security
- Maintained American sovereignty and borders

Although there are objections to the border fence, they are mostly based on weak evidence. For example:

- The cost of the border fence is around $3 billion dollars. Some object that this price tag is too high, but the fact is that illegal immigrants cost US taxpayers more than $100 billion dollars every year[1]. Even when you factor in the costs of maintaining the fence, it still cost much less than the impact of illegal aliens on the American economy.

- Others object that the border fence will be ineffective. The border fence has already been built, and statistics show that it has been effective, reducing apprehensions by 72% and decreasing the total illegal immigration population by 7% within 2 years. The fence reduces illegal immigration, deterres it, and encourages lawful immigration into the US.

- There are also objections over the environmental impact of constructing the border fence. As the old saying goes: "You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs", but the impact can be minimized by moving affected and endangered species out of the area and into specially protected habitats. And the border fence also helps reduce the 25 million pounds of trash discarded every year by illegal immigrants.

In the end, the US-Mexico border fence provides more benefits than drawbacks, and above all, it has already been built and it has shown results. The fence is part of a solid solution to a major domestic problem, and it has effectively accomplished its goal: Reducing illegal immigration.

Thank you very much for this thoughtful and interesting debate. Best of luck!
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ChrisF 3 years ago
ChrisF
Forget it, I can't fit my arguement into the comments, so I gracefully forfeit the final round. Thanks for the debate, and good luck.
Posted by GeneralGG 3 years ago
GeneralGG
I feel for you, buddy. I made mine with 10 minutes to spare. Go ahead!
Posted by ChrisF 3 years ago
ChrisF
Shoot, I didn't realize the time limit ran out today. It's not official, but would you mind if I just made my argument in the comments? If not, I guess I forfeit the last round.
Posted by GeneralGG 3 years ago
GeneralGG
Sorry, a bit late
Posted by ChrisF 3 years ago
ChrisF
http://immigration.procon.org...

For some reason the second link won't work for me either now. Weird.
Posted by GeneralGG 3 years ago
GeneralGG
Yeah. Didn't work. Can you post them again in the comments?
Posted by ChrisF 3 years ago
ChrisF
Did you try copying and pasting? Or clicking on them?
Posted by GeneralGG 3 years ago
GeneralGG
They say: "Page not found"
Posted by ChrisF 3 years ago
ChrisF
Really? They work fine for me.
Posted by GeneralGG 3 years ago
GeneralGG
Umm...neither of your links in the third round work
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TheEpicMinecrafter 3 years ago
TheEpicMinecrafter
ChrisFGeneralGGTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by Juris_Naturalis 3 years ago
Juris_Naturalis
ChrisFGeneralGGTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con added a new point in R3 when he specified R3 and 4 was for rebuttals as well as a forfeited round. Pro's arguments were more developed than Con's