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

The US should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 1/25/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 weeks ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 234 times Debate No: 107079
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




This is a "policy" topic, which means the Pro side proposes a plan in Rd. 1, and Con's BOP is to negate that plan.

First round is for acceptance.


Accepted, güey.
Debate Round No. 1


== Plan ==

Amnesty will be offered to all undocumented immigrants within the United States, except those who have committed crimes. In addition, a much larger number of immigrants will be accepted into the US, with the only policy restricting them being a cap (which is higher than the one in the status quo) which restricts the number of immigrants who can enter, along with exceptions for people who've committed crimes. Labor laws, minimum wage standards, and welfare policies will all apply to immigrants, and a path to citizenship will be provided.

Note: I'm willing to clarify more in Rd. 3, but I don't think this debate will surround the specifics of this.

== Framework ==

The weighing mechanism for the round should be a balance between upholding individual rights, and protecting both citizens and noncitizens. Why do immigrants/noncitizens matter as much in this debate as Americans?

First, individuals have a right to pursue a better quality of life. Denying individuals the ability to escape conditions of poverty and suffering is unjust in and of itself. The right to immigration maximizes options of individuals, and enables them to actualize their right to autonomy. [7]

Second, because the US has specific obligations toward immigrants. For one, immigrants already within the United States work and contribute to the American economy, meaning the US government has a reciprocal obligation toward them. Moreover, the US is often directly culpable for creating conditions which cause immigrants to move -- in the form of invasions, unfair trade deals, and so on.

Third, because the US has already achieved a basic degree of a quality of life for its population. Immigrants come from developing countries, where they don't have nearly as much access to infrastructure, education, and economic opportunity. The US is obliged to offset this inequality.

== My Case ==

Contention 1: Increasing the quality of life of immigrants and noncitizens

Subpoint A: Poverty reduction

Moving enables immigrants escape their poverty. A major percentage of immigrants to the US come from low-income backgrounds. [1] [5] Given the fact that the countries from which these immigrants come are often developing countries (e.g. Mexico, Honduras), they often come to the US due to a lack of economic opportunity. By immigrating, they're able to get a job with decent pay and improve their quality of life. A 2008 study concludes, "It is likely that by a reasonable international standard of poverty, two of every five living Mexicans who have escaped poverty did so by leaving Mexico; for Haitians it is four out of five. And on the order of tens of thousands of infant deaths are prevented each year for the sole reason that those infants' parents left poor countries." [2]

Moreover, immigrants are able to gain access to infrastructure and education in the US, which makes them more productive. [4] The average Haitian earns ten times more than their original income by moving to America. The average immigrant from Nigeria earns fifteen times more their original income. [3] Guatemalan immigrants raise their real earning power by 200% just by stepping into the US, and Filipinos experience a 250% wage increase. [6] In short, prior to immigrating, these individuals live in poverty. The plan enables immigrants to move and to be paid decent wages after moving to the US; this in turn equals poverty reduction, and equals the prevention of thousands of infant deaths.

Subpoint B: Remittances

Immigrants send back money to their families back home, in developing countries. The greater their incomes are, the more quantity of remittances they send. These remittances have high monetary value, due to the difference in purchasing power parity between the US and developing countries. Remittances lead to economic growth, through greater consumption and more capital accumulation. [22] Through a liberalized immigration policy, immigrants already within the US earn higher wages, so they send more remittances back. A 10% increase in income leads to a 6% increase in remittances. [23]

Conclusion. The plan allows for these benefits by (a) expanding the number of legal immigrants who come into the US substantially, and (b) giving undocumented immigrants within the US legal status, thus increasing their wages, job security, and quality of life.

Contention 2: Benefits to the United States

Subpoint A: Productivity

Immigrants boost economic productivity within the United States. Three reasons. First, unskilled workers are productive. A 2009 study found that immigration increases total factor productivity substantially, and that such efficiency gains are larger for less-educated workers. They also increase the total number of hours worked. [8] This is because immigrants specialize in manual-based tasks, whereas natives tend to specialize in communication-based tasks. At bottom, economic productivity increases due to unskilled labor.

Second, immigrants also bring with them innovation. For one, a lot of immigrants are educated and skilled. A 1% increase in immigrant-college graduates, on balance, results in a 6-15% increase in patents. [9] Indeed, a large number of immigrants go into information technology, and, "by creating technological innovations and implementing technology, these workers boost the productivity of their fellow STEM and non-STEM workers alike." [10] In addition, immigration brings with it diversity. The more immigration from Mexico comes into the US, the more Hispanic people there are at work. Racial and economic diversity brings with it substantial economic benefits. When people come from diverse backgrounds, they tend to think of problems in different ways and bring fresh perspective. [11] [12]

Third, immigrants enable natives be more productive. Immigrants do jobs like housekeeping or dry-cleaning, which means areas with high rates of immigration have lower costs for such services. This means people are able to dedicate more time to work, and participate in the workforce. In particular, "low-skilled immigration has increased hours worked by women with a professional degree or a Ph.D. . . . Consistently, we find a decrease in the time women . . . spend in household work and an increase in their reported expenditures on housekeeping services." [13] Thus, an ancillary benefit of immigration is increasing the number of women in the workforce, advancing the fight against sexism and increasing productivity.

Moving past the economic jargon, the impact of greater productivity is cheaper goods for consumers, more consumption, and higher wages for low-income native workers within the United States. It gives people all over the US more economic opportunity.

Subpoint B: Labor mobility

Immigrant workers are much more willing to move and change jobs when there's an unexpected event that affects the labor market in a certain area. Basically, American workers don't like relocating. [14] A lack of labor mobility leaves markets saturated; native workers are unable to find jobs, consumers are unable to access cheap goods, and nobody benefits. However, immigrants are willing to relocate, thus expanding labor mobility. [15] Immigrants in the EU were able to mitigate the economic crisis by fixing mismatches in labor supply and demand. [16]

Immigrants moving from an area of low demand to one of higher demand means that consumers are finally able to get basic everyday necessities; it means that companies have found workers to give consumers those necessities at lower prices, improving everyone's quality of life. In addition, by preventing the saturation of labor markets in low-demand areas, immigration improves the wages and the quality of life of native workers.

Subpoint C: Demand

Immigrants need local services. Thus, more immigrants in an area equals more consumption. Each immigrant creates 1.2 jobs for local workers, on average, and increases real wages for local workers. [17] Furthermore, immigrants are more likely than natives to start firms and businesses, thus increasing demand for labor. [18] One in six small businesses are owned by immigrants. [19] Thus, jobs are created.

Con will probably argue that immigration leads to a greater supply of workers, reducing wages and negotiating power of workers, and killing jobs. The empirical data doesn't support this claim, because they often have different skills than local workers, and because they often lack access to the same jobs. [20] Lydia DePills of The Washington Post gives five reasons why immigration doesn't kill jobs: (1) immigrants fill labor gaps, (2) immigrants often don't have access to the same jobs, (3) immigrants complement existing capital, labor, and technology, (4) labor markets adapt, as firms expand and new firms grow, and (5) the increase in productivity immigrants provide drives wage growth and job growth. [21]

Conclusion. The status quo of American immigration policy allows a very limited number of immigrants; low-skilled immigrants, in particular, are unlikely to be employed or paid reasonably well, and are often not allowed to even enter the U.S. The plan helps the economy by liberalizing restrictions which currently exist.

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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by thett3 2 weeks ago

16k if you dont redo this there will be HELL to pay
Posted by tejretics 3 weeks ago
Do you want to redo this?
Posted by tejretics 3 weeks ago
Done with my case.

Now I just need to get things to fit within the character limit.
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