Total Posts:3|Showing Posts:1-3
Jump to topic:

RFD for Illegal Immigration Debate

whiteflame
Posts: 1,378
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/28/2015 7:19:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
RFD:

Well, this debate was a mess. The arguments of both debaters were full of holes, and each of you spent so little time explaining your points that none of them were particularly strong, even after 4 rounds. No one's particularly dominant, but there are two chief questions to cover: what solvency does a border fence achieve, and is the result of that solvency beneficial?

The former question is, thankfully, pretty straightforward. It's determined early on that, even though there are certainly ways to circumvent the fence, both sides agree that the rate of immigration will decrease. Con tlels me htat the rate of illegal immigration is already decreasing, but all that tells me is that that the quantitative impact of reducing the number of illegal immigrants is decreasing, meaning that every year the impact on the total number of illegal immigrants is reduced. This doesn't affect the solvency of Pro's case. Pro does eventually evaluate what the level of solvency actually is in R3, to which Con is not responsive. That leaves me accepting that Pro's going to achieve his solvency, and thus that Con's C4 is essentially just light mitigation on that outcome. That's not to say that it had to be " Con could have argued that trying to cross illegally via other means ends up causing yet more harm, something that's shored up by evidence of resulting death tolls among immigrants.

Con's arguments:

1) Cost

This point does clearly establish that building a fence costs money, which neither side seems to disagree on. There is a question going through the debate of just how much money it will cost to build and maintain, though we have a pretty clear range from $5 to $28 billion. The issue is that I have no idea what this amount of money actually means in terms of harm. It's clearly harmful to lose money, but it's not clear how this amount of money compares ot any of the other economic aspects of this decision. Pro does point out that it's relatively small in the broader scheme of budgeting, and while Con's correct that this is comparing apples and oranges, it does invite the question of just how much it matters within context.

2) Environment

Con spends a good deal of time here from the outset, explaining with specifics how the border fence will affect species of animals and plants in the area. I even got some explanation of how it would expand beyond them, causing further harms. The survival of indigenous groups was particularly potent, and remains so until the end of the debate due to a lack of rebuttal from Pro.

None of Pro's responses are particularly compelling. Pro talks about the ability of jaguars and plants to adapt to their environments, which assumes that they and all other threatened species in the region can adapt to the border fence specifically. Pro compares the border fence to a house fence, but all this tells me is that we do harm no matter what, not that the harm caused by the border fence is null or even minimal. Pro talks about different climates and their effect on plant growth, but all this is is a statement of alternate causality, and one that's non-unique to the presence or absence of the fence.

Pro talks about the role of government, couching it in Adam Smith's philosophy. Pro's not getting the legs he wants with this, mainly because he's not giving me a reason to use that as offense. Why is defying standard roles of government bad? Pro seems to be saying that we should prefer the main important functions, but doesn't say why engaging in non-role activities necessarily precludes engaging in them. For that matter, why is Adam Smith the appropritate source to determine what those roles are? Admittedly, Con doesn't give me any good reasons why environmental protection is a part of the role of government, but he does point out that a border fence isn't necessarily part of their role either.

Pro's not doing much with his environmental contention, simply arguing that wood and metal are easy to come by... and thus environmentally beneficial to use? I really can't make sense of this. All Pro is doing is explaining why the harm isn't THAT bad. That might be fine if Pro was presenting some other materials to use and we were comparing their usage, but this is a comparison between a wood and metal fence, and nothing.

So this point should probably be one of the biggest for Con by the end of the debate, but its impact seemed to fade with time. Con stops mentioning indigenous groups, which would would meet Pro's view on the role of government. Con spends no time at all explaining why we should care about the plant and animal die-off, and Pro tells me that they're not as important as harms to humans. So this impact gets minimized and relegated to the background of this debate rather than being placed in the forefront.

3) Economy

This point becomes the one with the most back and forth, and I'll spend more time here on Pro's contentions. There are a few key things that are coming out of this contention from the outset, though. He tells me that wages are driven up more quickly among those with the least education, which Pro concedes. Pro tells me in response that the wage increase will force an increase in prices, and Con's response is... kind of baffling. He tells me in R4 that "illegals will work for lower wage, which means lower prices", but that seems to mean that fewer Americans will be hired in order to keep prices down. I can buy that illegals will drive up wages for Americans, but the only way prices decrease if that happens is if employers rely on lower wage workers, namely illegals.

This actually seems to be borne out with Con's argument on agriculture. I buy that there's a clear benefit to those industries, but the view seems to be that this comes from hiring on chiefly illegal immigrants. Pro doesn't tell me that Americans are clamoring for these jobs, so in this case I'm buying that there's a clear benefit to society at large, but it's introducing doubt about job availability to Americans. More importantly, it's not a clear explanation of benefit. Why do we care that milk prices would increase by 61 percent? You have to explain why that kind of increase is untenable. Similarly, there's a clear and relevant importance to the general economy, but I don't know what those percent decreases would really do to our economy. It's made all the less clear when Con talks later about the difference between incoming immigrants and currently present immigrants. What is the harm of preventing an influx, specifically? All of these points assume an outcome of 0 illegal immigrants, but that's not the reality, as Con himself argues.

4) Ineffective

As I said before, this is basically just a concession on solvency writ small. It doesn't matter if immigration is going down, it only matters that the fence would have solvency at reducing those inflows.
whiteflame
Posts: 1,378
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/28/2015 7:20:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Con's Contentions:

1) Crime rate

Pro tells me that the crime rate increases as a result of more illegal immigrants getting into the country. It's clear that crime rates are higher among illegal immigrants. Con's resposnes are mainly mitigation, simply explaining that the influx of more immigrants does little to solve, but it is cleary that more illegal immigrants = more crime, so Pro's getting some solvency for this. Pro points to larger statistics and how the influx of immigrants hasn't affected a general decline in crime rates, but again, this is just mitigation, since it simply shows that the correlation doesn't exist on a country-wide basis. Crime rates will apparently fall in some places, at least Florida, North Carolina and Arizona.

Later, Pro talks about border crime. Con basically calls this into question with the correlation vs. causation fallacy, and while I buy that this reduction in crime rates at the border may have something to do with the border fence, it's difficult to say that the border fence was specifically responsible for the shift. Part of introducing the correlation vs. causation fallacy, though, requires that the debater point to other, likelier reasons for its happening, and since Pro's the only one to give me an explanation, I'm buying it lightly.

2) Media

It's pretty clear from the outset that this has no bearing on the outcome of the debate. It's not relevant to the overall discussion, and so I don't regard it as important.

3) Diseases

Pro talks about an influx of disease. Con talks about preventative and treatment measures, but once again, that's mitigation. Even if we assume all of these measures are taken (and Pro gives me reason to believe they won't due to cost concerns), not every disease will be able to be addressed completely without trouble. Now, Pro doesn't actually tell me why illegal immigrants are particularly special in the disease department, nor does he explain why these diseases really matter beyond cost concerns. Those do matter, and the effect on them is not one I can ignore, but the focus on costs seems weak when Pro's not giving me a solid story for how those cost concerns play out. Why does cutting spending on veterans matter, and why does spending on illegal immigrants increase as a result of not engaging in the plan? Pro doesn't explain.

4) Unequal rights

I don't get the title of this, mainly because this is more about availability of jobs than it is about unequal distribution of rights. Pro barely explains this at the outset, simply pointing to a large number of jobs held by illegals and not showing that citizens are searching for those very same jobs. Con rightly points that out. It isn't until R3 that Pro starts discussing McDonalds as an example, to which Con is basically unresponsive, simply stating that Americans don't want to work at McDonalds when Pro had clearly explained that many were applying and not getting them. It showcases a clear harm in terms of lost job opportunities. All Con really managed to do in response was point out that many of these jobs, particularly in agriculture, aren't sought out by Americans. That's fine, but it doesn't negate Pro's argument. At least 700,000 jobs that would otherwise be in American hands are denied as a result of hiring the cheaper, illegal alternative.

5) Economic Benefits

I was so lost on this contention. Pro argues that there is some economic benefit from "establish[ing] authority over our country", but apart from the Carter quote, he doens't provide any evidence that this is the case. He claims that his evidence points towards deportation as being beneficial, but that's not a part of either case, so it doesn't matter. I'm not sure what kinds of economic benefits we're even looking at here, and Pro never clairifies through the rest of the debate. Sure, there's some theoretical benefit, but I can't give Pro that argument without any clarity as to how that happens.

Conclusion:

Ugh, you guys are making this difficult. Neither of you spend any time crystallizing your arguments and explaining how the debate worked out, so you're forcing me to come to those conclusions myself. Neither of you are weighing the arguments against one another, and lacking that, you're again forcing me to engage in it. Neither of you are going to like that because it's not the outcome you would personally want for any of your points. It also doesn't help that the vast majority of your responses to each other focus entirely on mitigation.

Pro's winning that the border fence costs, though the impact of those costs are weak. He's winning that there's a harm to the environment, but I can do little with that point when he isn't doing much for it himself. The harm to indigenous groups is nebulous and there's no clear understanding of how large those groups are, so I can't weigh it effectively. The economic impact is really the only one with any clear substance, and so that becomes the main one that plays a role in the outcome of this debate.

Con's winning that there's a crime rate concern, a disease concern, and an economic concern that cannot be ignored. For economics, it's essentially a comparison between an increase in prices of certain products from Pro, and a great number of jobs that Americans would otherwise take. Both are nebulous impacts weakened by the reality that they apply solely to illegal immigrants who are already here rather than to the steady influx of them into the country. That leaves crime and disease, and while I find fault with both points (especially the latter), I can't ignore either of them completely. Even if I'm buying that the economic boosts from Pro are better because they're better defined, that's still not enough to outweigh these two points on top of the job analysis. Hence, I vote Con.

(Forgot to put this at the top: This is an RFD for the debate between tajshar2k and SnaxAttack linked here: http://www.debate.org...)
whiteflame
Posts: 1,378
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/28/2015 7:42:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
My apologies, I screwed that up at the end. I vote Pro. In all of the conclusion section, I flipped Pro and Con, so just flip them back.