The Instigator
Pro (for)
12 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Those currently residing in the United States illegally ought to be granted amnesty.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,773 times Debate No: 27493
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)




This is my first debate.


Hah, I'm new to debates as well! Anyways heres a few of my reasons against it:
1. It's already overpopulated in the US so why should illegal imgrinents be allowed to just walk into the country without permission then immediatly be accepted?
2. Laws are laws and they broke them so why excuse them of their crime?
3. There might of been a reason they came to the country besides wanting to start a new, better life.
4. There are proberly thousands living illegally which would make it kinda hard to just round 'em all up then go "Oh, here you are now a part of our country. Congats! And good job of sneaking in too! We didn't even suspect you!"
I eargely await a response!!! ;)
Debate Round No. 1


I respectfully submit that those currently in the United States illegally ought to be granted amnesty.

"Those in the United States illegally"- "According to the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS), an estimated 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants resided in the United States as of January 2011." (1)

"Amnesty"-" an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole." (2)


In the United States, a combination of porous borders and economics has led to a significant amount of people entering this country in violation of the immigration laws that are on the books. Policy makers, recognizing that many of the people who have entered illegally have not left, have some important decisions to make. The biggest of which is as follows: What should be done with these law breakers? I will argue that amnesty is the best approach. It is the best apporach for the following reasons:

1. Deportation is costly and unrealistic.
2. Many of the people who entered this country illegally have subsequently had children who, since born on US soil, are American citizens.
3. The vast majority of those who entered illegally are hard working, productive members of our society.
4. There are circumstances, such as this one, where amnesty is the best way to address a flawed law.

Does the fact that so many people have entered illegally suggest that current immigration laws are flawed? Yes, after granting amnesty, the US should revise its current immigration laws to avoid a recurrence of this problem in the future.

Argument 1. Deportation is costly and unrealistic

Deporting over 11 million people is a task is virtually impossible given the following realities:

A. We do not know where all of these people are. Many who are here illegally blend in. They live in the shadows. A tremendous amount of detective work will need to be performed in order to determine who is here illegally. Some states, including Arizona, have attempted to craft laws that would make it easier for law enforcement to demand proof of citizenship when a person commits another offense. Civil liberty advocates have warned that we need to be careful to not create an environment where law enforcement violates the Constitutional rights of individuals in the hopes of identifying people who have settled in this country illegally.

B. Even if we could round up the millions that are here illegally, would we have the man power and resources to actually deport those apprehended? One source, a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, estimates that the financial cost of deportation would likely be as high as $23,000 per person deported. (3) . According to the source, "If US were to undertake a mass deportation campaign its cost over five years would be $285 billion." (3)

Argument 2. Many of the people who entered this country illegally have subsequently had children who, since born on US soil, are American citizens.

A. According to 2009 census data quoted by the New York Times, "Children of illegal immigrants make up 7 percent of all people in the country younger than 18 years old"" and "four out of five of those children " 79 percent " are American citizens because they were born here." (4).

This is a huge number, and the consequences of breaking up millions of families are potentially catastrophic. Should we not consider the instability that a mass deportation would create if executed? What should happen to these children?

Argument 3. The vast majority of those who entered illegally are hard working, productive members of our society.

There is a perception among some in our society that those who are here illegally are leaches, meaning they consume our society"s resources without contributing to the public good. In fact, those who are here illegally do pay taxes. In fact, one study estimates that "households that are headed by undocumented immigrants (which may include members who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants) paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes last year. That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes and $8.4 billion in sales taxes." (5)
Even if they are paid under the table, a violation of the law that both employees and employers are complicit in, these workers do pay sales taxes, school taxes, and property taxes. As workers, they also contribute to our economy, providing labor in many areas of the economy, including construction, farming, and the food service industries. Without these workers, American consumers would find that a major economic void would exist that would not be easily filled. If it were to be filled by more expensive American workers, consumers would have to adjust to the higher prices that would surely be passed on to them by the businesses impacted by this significant change to labor market.


Argument 4. There are circumstances, such as this one, where amnesty is the best way to address a flawed law.
Granting amnesty to millions of people who have willingly broken the law is indeed a dramatic step. I do not support this point lightly. It is the only option policy option worthy of pursuing, considering the tremendous disruption to our social fabric and economic costs that would ensue if mass deportation were pursued. Those who support mass deportation underestimate how unrealistic this approach is. Rather than stubbornly supporting a rigid view of the law, we need to realistically assess the status quo, admit that current immigration policies have failed, and adjust. The most reasonable adjustment is to allow those who are in this country to continue to live in this country, to create a path to citizenship for them, and to thoughtfully move forward in our methods of dealing with those who wish to enter the United States.

Thanks, and I look forward to your reply!


I will now try to challenge what you have said... Wish me luck? :D

In our country there are laws. If people could just break the law freely then be forgiven where would we be? For one, there would be no justice. This would lower each and every one of us to criminals. Because if you could do whatever you want, whether it is right or wrong, without the barrier of laws to stop us, you would do it. However, we do have laws that stop us from doing whatever we want. And though some break it they usually pay the price for it. So why should these people be treated special, when people that have lived in the same country their entire lives not have this same "special treatment." If anything, they should be the ones that are let off for crimes instead of the people that have only just started to live here.
Another thing is, if they want to live in our country then they should have respect for its people, government, and laws. It's not starting out too well if the first thing a person does iin their new country is break the law! So no! That is not acceptable behaviour if they want to live in this country.
And there is a reason that certain people need to sneak into a country. I'm not saying ALL illegal imagrints are bad people just that some are. Do we really need criminals from other countries sneaking into ours? And besides that, soon nobody would bother even sneak because they would have nothing to fear. They would know that they could just stroll into the US and start a new life without worry of being thrown back out or jailed. No, they would walk right in and instantly be forgiven for breaking a law. Who wouldn't love that?
And what be the point of a law then? There would be no point to it if we just forgive all these law-breakers.
Besides, would any of the imagrints actually believe that they were suddenly excused of what they did? If the US government or whatever suddenly innouced that all illegal imagrints were now scot-free, do you really think they are all going to come rushing out and publicly shout that they were illegally living in the country? Yeah right... I think that they would still live in the shadows, fearing a trick, a scam, to draw them all out. So basically that would be pointless and waste tons of money trying to decide to revoke the law or not.

Thank you to my opponent for your support and understanding! (I guess)? I really didn't know how to respond but once I started writing I got some new ideas sooooo thanks! Anyways, look forward to your reply! XD

Oh and sorry for the shortness of all this...
Debate Round No. 2


Let us start with the following principle: A country should never change a law if changing the law results in a person or group of people who broke the original law going unpunished.

I oppose this idea for the following reasons:

Laws may need to be changed for a variety of reasons, including the consequences of the law, the ineffectiveness of the law, the cost of enforcement, or changing circumstances. For this issue, illegal immigration, I assert, and have explained above, that all of these factors justify the need to change our immigration policy.

So if we change our immigration policy, how important is it that we punish people who broke the law when it was on the books?

A law that is poorly designed or poorly enforced potentially creates an environment where many people become law breakers, many more people than the government can handle. When this happens, it is important to step back and at least examine whether there may be elements of the law that can be refined, to decrease the amount of people who are classified as law breakers.

When our economy was stronger, our economy, coupled with lax enforcement of our borders, was a magnet that attracted many people to our country. Add to the mix many employers who took the calculated risk that they could get away with hiring workers in this country illegally and you have a recipe for a policy failure.

If it is unjust to grant amnesty to those who entered our country illegally, then it is equally unjust to not punish employers who hired these workers, knowingly violating the law.

I suggest we step back and admit that our policy needs to be refined. Should we go out of our way to punish people just so that we can say we punished them? Does this preserve justice? Or does justice demand that we admit that there are times when our laws are out of step with reality?

Immigration policy in the United States is surely out of touch with reality, as evidenced by the fact that over 11 million people are estimated to live in our county, having entered it illegally. How could we allow this many people to enter our country and to live in our country, in some cases, for decades? Because our laws are out of touch with the facts on the ground.

Thank you for considering my arguments.


Ok I'll make this short as it's my last round.

If we just granted illegal imagrints amnesty there would be no point to a law against people entering this country. In fact, anyone could just walk into the country because then there would be no rule against them entering. And that is where the problem of terroists will get HUGE.

And yes, our society is very messed up and our laws need polishing but the solution is not just excusing all the law-breakers. It may be easier but it's not right! That will just encourage more law-breaking which will not help at all.

Would you excuse a murderer just because it is easier and cheaper? Well, in todays world that is what happens sometimes but that is besides the point. Releasing a bunch of murderers from punishment will not teach them a lesson so they are much more likely to commit the crime again. And though a murderer and a person entering a country illegally are very different crimes it does not escape the fact that they broke the law, and therefore, need to be punished.

If these people want to live in a new country they need to learn the laws that not only bind them but also protect them.

Also, they would then need to change the law which will cost tax-payers thousands as the government debates over it. Which I'm pretty sure would NOT please a lot of people. In fact, the only people that would be for anmestry are the illegally living people because I don't think society will appreciate watching other people break the law then get off scot-free.

And though we will never come close to catching all the people that illegally enter, the cops do catch some. And changing the law will not help matters at all.

So, laws are laws and there should be no exceptions to this.

Thanks for this interesting debate and may the best debater win! :D
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
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Posted by joetab24 5 years ago
Thanks for participating! I enjoyed it.
Posted by blackfirewolf 5 years ago
yeah ok i'ii try... thx for ur understanding! :D
Posted by joetab24 5 years ago
Or just try to add more to the list you first posted :)
Posted by joetab24 5 years ago
Do you want to just focus on my weakest argument?
Posted by blackfirewolf 5 years ago
Wow really I have no idea where to go with this. You just put up so many good points! :D Anyways, I don't really have any arguements against what you said so I'm sorta lost... Maybe message me on what we should do? I don't really want to just drop this debate but... anyways, suggestions? Sorry... :(
Posted by joetab24 5 years ago
It's now your turn. Do you now
explain further the points you listed in round ?

Still learning the format, sorry! :)
Posted by blackfirewolf 5 years ago
Sorry I dont fully understood what u just said. sorry im not the greatest at engish...
Posted by joetab24 5 years ago
I guess you can elaborate on your points, and then we can rebut each other's arguments. Is that ok?
Posted by blackfirewolf 5 years ago
LOL NO! I've only been on this site for 2 days but i hav already had 3 other debates besides this one. check my profile if u want it will show you my current debates since none are actually finished! And i look foward to debating with u! Best of luck!XD
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: CON - USE THE SPELL CHECKER. This was a mismatched debate. PRO commanded the entire debate from the moment PRO started. While I take issue with some of PRO's points (especially the point about breaking families, that's their problem for risking illegal immigration in the first place, and the born in the USA law is rather flawed as well), CON did little to refute them. Well argued by PRO, unfortunately not reciprocated by CON. CON - your last statement is usually your longest! Take advantage of the fact that you cannot be rebutted.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: con had several really poor arguments, the only one that had any credibility at all was the claim that laws are laws so why excuse them of breaking it? Pro though countered that argument well and by the end of the debate Pro had fulfilled his Burden of proof needed to win the debate whereas the con did not as over time his own arguments decreased in quality by quite a lot. I give arguments to the pro, sources to the pro since hes the only one who used any, no poor conduct from either side and there wasnt any grammar issues to me. Somewhat entertaining debate, I give it 2 out of 4 stars....