The Instigator
Pro (for)
9 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

The United States should build and maintain a border fence

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,992 times Debate No: 49893
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (24)
Votes (4)




A border fence is one of the possible mechanisms used to control immigration and the flow of goods over U.S. borders. In this debate I will contend that existing border fences on the southern border should maintained and upgraded, and that at least a new 700 mile fence should be built .

I do not require that a border fence be built on the entire border. There are natural obstacles in some places and in other places there are less expensive enforcement techniques. The fundamental contention is that border fences are a significant cost-effective part of border enforcement.

The controversy over building a border fence is renewed this year as part of immigration reform. This article gives some background on the controversy for those unfamiliar with the subject: [1. ]

The context of this debate is the present day United States. For this debate, there is no distinction between a "fence" and a "wall" or other types of running structural barriers.

Thanks to my opponent for taking up this topic.


This opening round is for definitions, acceptance, and clarification only. I will give the Pro case at the start of the second round.

Either side may propose changes in policies related to border policies, but the Pro plan must include a border fence and the Con plan cannot include a border fence. The overall plan must be disclosed in the opening round of debate (R2) with only minor changes thereafter.

Standard debate conventions apply. I list them here for the benefit of new debaters and readers. I believe there is nothing tricky or eccentric. Both sides agree to the following rules, and that violating the rules is a conduct violation, with anything contrary to the rules to be ignored by readers judging the debate:

DR 1. All arguments must be made in the debate. Evidence may be cited or linked from the debate, but only in support of arguments made in the debate. Arguments made in Comments are to be ignored.

DR 2. Source links or references must be included within the character limit of the debate. No links or sources are permitted in comments.

DR 3 Any term not specifically defined before use is to be taken with the ordinary dictionary definition of the term that best fits the context of the debate. The definitions given in the challenge stand as a condition of acceptance.

DR 4. No new arguments shall be made in Round 4, except for Pro's rebuttal of Con's R3 arguments. Otherwise R4 is for summarizing and restating the points of the debate.

DR 5. DDO site rules always apply. Neither side may add or modify rules for the debate once the challenge is accepted.


The debate should be decided solely upon the arguments and evidence presented in the debate.


As my opponent stated: "This opening round is for definitions, acceptance, and clarification only."

I hereby accept my opponent's kind invitation.

My opponent has allowed Round 1 (R1) to be used for clarification purposes. Aside from the criterion, I am adding no new content but only clarifications in order to ensure a smooth debate.

My opponent has not provided a criterion for this debate; however, over a private message we agreed to a criterion of net benefits." In other words, voters should judge arguments based on whether Con's or Pro's position is more beneficial overall.

As my opponent states, Pro may indeed include other relevant policy changes that do not directly contribute to the border fence construction; however, please remember that Pro and Con are debating the merits/harms of constructing a border fence.

As my opponent states, Round 4 (R4) is strictly for summary, expect for Pro's possibly rebutting Con's R3 arguments. Please remember that Pro's R4 rebuttal must be against Con's R3 arguments--not Con's R1 or R2 arguments.


United States: The United States Federal Government

Maintain: To continue to keep (something) in good condition by making repairs, correcting problems, preventing significant failure and decline, etc.

Border: a line separating one country or state from another

Thanks to my opponent for the invitation! I'm looking forward to a fantastic and educational debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Definition. 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. The fence in the picture below is on the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Mexico has a fence on its border with Guatemala. [1.] As we shall see, fences are remarkably inexpensive relative to alternatives.

Diagram of double fence on Saudi Iraq border

1. Border Security is Needed:

1.1. To control immigration-related benefit costs.

There is potential for reforming U.S. immigration policy. A major obstacle to achieving agreement on a better immigration policy is our uncontrolled borders. The Obama Administration has the policy of low border security and large numbers of extraditions. It takes about two or three weeks for an deported immigrant to cross back into the US.

Many government benefits are provided to every resident of the United States, whether legal or illegal. For example, anyone can go to a hospital emergency room and receive free medical care. Children may attend public schools and receive educational benefits without regard to citizenship. Even when times are tough in the United States, job opportunities are better than in poor countries. Immigration costs taxpayers an estimated $113 B. [2.] $52 billion is for education of the children of illegal immigrants.

The US should adopt an immigration policy allowing guest workers from Mexico. And other countries That would greatly reduce the education and medical costs by allowing families to remain in Mexico while workers travel freely back-and-forth. That policy would still require strict border enforcement. The US can use many immigrants, but they should be diverse and fit the needs of the economy.

1.2. For health and safety. The U.S. controls what can be imported into the United States so as to exclude unsafe food products, lead-based paints and ceramics. It regulates trucks and aircraft for safety. It forbids travel from places suffering outbreaks of communicable diseases.

1.3. To protect against crime. Persons with criminal histories should be excluded. Human trafficking is prohibited. "Human trafficking is the third-largest global criminal enterprise, exceeded only by drug and arms trafficking, … By some estimates, the industry is growing, and the [worldwide] illegitimate gain from the industry is as high as $32 billion per year." [3.]

California alone spends $1B housing illegals in its prison system, with about three-quarters from Mexico and central America. [4.] Nationwide, total costs are put as high as $7.8 billion. [5.]

Background checks would reduce both the initial entry and re-entry of criminals. If a person's only crime is illegal entry, the cost would be nearly eliminated.

1.4. To prohibit contraband. Recreational drugs are part of this, but there are also prohibitions on prescription drugs. Endangered species and products derived from endangered species are prohibited. Fake prescription drugs, fake aircraft parts, fake branded luxury goods, and illegal copies of CDs and movies are excluded. If marijuana is legalized, drug cartels will more heavily promote cocaine, heroin, and other drugs. The cartels have a steady business in kidnapping for ransom, which we can expect to increase.

1.5. To reduce illegal arms exports. Fences work both ways, so a border fence will help control export of weapons to drug lords and other criminals. Huge amounts of arms are attempted to be smuggled across the Mexican border. [6.]

1.6. To collect taxes. Even if narcotics and other drugs were legalized, the US would still want to collect taxes on them. Judging from the "sin" taxes on alcohol and tobacco, the taxes would be steep, and well worth avoiding.

1.7 To prevent immigrant deaths per year in attempted illegal border crossings. Over 1800 deaths have been recorded. [7.] Fences are so effective that few people attempt to breach them.

1.8 To prevent terrorism. President Obama, Senator Rand Paul, and the general public agree that the U.S. should not fight overseas wars against terrorism, and that is current policy. That allows terrorists to have safe havens where they can plot attacks against the US with weapons of mass destruction. North Korea has nuclear weapons and Iran will soon have them, so there is an increasing danger. Border security must now be aimed at providing 100% security.

2. Border fencing is cost-effective.

2.1 The Israelis builds high security double fence for $2.83 million per mile. [8.] The US government does not do things so cheaply. In an expensive area near San Diego, a double fence was $16 million per mile. 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.

2.2 The Israeli fence is close to 100% effective. "
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, 17,298 in 2011 and 14,715 in 2010. In the years before that, the numbers were lower but still in the thousands." [9.]

In San Diego a lower-security type of double fence cut illegal apprehensions by 79%, even though the protected segment was only 11.8 miles long and illegals could go around the short piece. The fenced area itself is 95% effective. [10.]

Fencing less effective than the proposed double fence reduced illegal crossings by 94% in the Yuma district. A 1.5 mile strip of even-more secure triple fencing is described as "impenetrable." [11.]

The present border fence is ineffective. Parts of it can be simply climbed. In much of the fence there are regular gaps or “gates” through which illegal activity is funneled. [12.] The gaps are partly designed for access to US properties where the local road is on the wrong side of the fence. Other gaps are unexplained. It may take legislation to allow timely acquisition of property by the government, or it may take building a new road. The fence is routed north of areas protected by treaty with Mexico. The problems are mostly solved in the nearly 700 miles of single fence that has been constructed, but the gaps must be closed as part of putting a double fence in place.

The need for border security is acute, and will do nothing but increase in coming years. A proper designed and constructed border fence will provide close to 100% border security. A yearly cost of $1.1 billion is small part of the $60 billion Homeland Security budget. It's a relative bargain.



Counterplan—"Easy citizenship, no wall"

My opponent has suggested building an expensive 700 mile wall to "solve" border problems; however, I will propose a counterplan that is both more beneficial and less risky.

HR-15 has shown that the US Congress is willing to strongly consider new pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and an easier access to citizenship for immigrants [6]. My counterplan would have congress pass a bill that would enact the following:

(1) Offer citizenship and immunity from deportation to all non-criminal undocumented residents of the US, and

(2) Change the major requirements of citizenship to include only a criminal background check and documentation of citizenship from another nation (as needed).


1. Documented and undocumented immigrants benefit the US economy.

Pro’s source of the cost to immigrants is a Fox News report of a study from an organization called “FAIR.” Both organizations are famously anti-immigrant. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a well-regarded organization specializing in identifying extremist groups labeled FAIR as an anti-immigrant hate group. [1]. Critics point out just after FAIR’s release that the study contains “critical errors,” including the fact that they don’t include the benefits of increased education in the workforce [2].

Adjusting for these errors, a 2008 report found that the then-current undocumented immigrants were responsible for a net of 8.1 million jobs and 1.8 trillion dollars into the government’s annual revenue [3]. Fighting immigration would have short-term and long term negative effect on the US economy, especially in states around the border [3].

Studies show that undocumented immigration increases the overall household incomes of US natives [4, p19]. In contrast, the wages of native-born citizens lowered as undocumented immigration slowed [4, p20].

Undocumented immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in government service expenses [4, p21; 5]. This is because they pay property taxes on their homes and sales taxes on their purchases. Additionally, many contribute to social security through their employers by presenting them with fake social security codes, and thus give $7 billion dollars annually to social security they can never collect [7].

Whereas stifling immigration of any kind would be detrimental to the economy, projections estimate that providing even a slightly-easier pathway to citizenship could provide an additional $500 billion in revenue over time [8].

2. The Mexican government might make trade sanctions against the US.

The Mexican government stated that the redirection of water resulting from the fence would violate a US-Mexico treaty [18]. Mexico may take serious action against the US as a result, including trade restrictions.

Trade sanctions could be disastrous. Last year the US exported over $220 billion of products to Mexico and imported over $280 billion products [19].

3. Cost of fence

I will concede Pro's estimate of $16 B to construct and $1.1 B/y to maintain [see his point 2].

However, I'd have to ask that Pro be more specific in explaining how the DHS will divert their funding to this program. Here's a link to the DHS budgets for 2014 and 2015 [22].

4. Alternative use of money

Billion(s) of dollars would be better spent improving the living conditions of American Indian Nations and veterans. I will elaborate on alternatives in R3.

5. The border fence runs through the territory of three Indian Nations (O'odham, Cocopah and Kickapoo) [17]. This fence would degrade their territories despite their protests.

6. The border fence devalues property surrounding boarder that is usually owned by poor minorities who are unable to afford a legal battle to secure appropriate monetary compensation. [20]

7. A border fence policy only adds to the stigma of “illegal” and subsequent racist attitudes toward “illegals” [11, 12].

Undocumented immigrants are afraid to report hate attacks due to their fear of deportation [11, 12]. My counterplan of Easy Citizenship would give immigrants access to protection from hate crimes, whereas my opponent’s plan would only aggravate anti-immigrant attitudes.

8. A more effective border fence would cause undocumented immigrants to take more dangerous routes.

Border patrol recently found 1000+ bodies in a dangerous desert near the border. The number of deaths through this desert tripled since the initial fence construction and is growing [10, 14], and would grow even faster under Pro’s plan.

In contrast, Easy Citizenship would virtually eliminate migrant-boarder deaths by making legal entry convenient.

9. The US sex trafficking industry depends on a difficult citizenship process.

Sex traffickers persuade non-native workers into entering the US illegally or with a visa with a promise of a job. The victims cannot enter the US legally, and thus rely on the trafficker for an illegitimate position [21].

Whereas my opponent’s plan fails to protect other borders and airports from sex trafficking, my counterplan will nearly eliminate all sex trafficking in the US by eliminating the victims’ need to rely on the trafficker for entry, and thus frustrate the dealers' recruitment.

10. The border fence would harm the environment and possibly drive species to extinction.

The fence hinders the mating, migration, and habitat of nearly all walking, slithering, and some flying animals who live nearby [15, 16].

Additionally, the border fence could eliminate three endangered species. It is vital that these species have connected populations, but the border fence divides their populations, limiting their breeding. Additionally, the lights from the fence and noise from the roads and guards interrupt their ability to breed, making it highly likely that they will soon go extinct if the border fence in my opponent’s plan came to fruition [15, 16].

11. A more effective border fence indirectly incentivizes drug cartels

A fence would reduce the supply of illicit drugs but not affect the demand, and thus increase the value of drugs. Drug running will have much higher returns, but the fence blocks casual dealers. These dealers would therefore be forced to rely on gangs and crime lords to successfully cross the border.

12. Fighting undocumented immigration perpetuates undocumented crime.

Because they are hunted by the law, undocumented immigrants are sometimes forced to work outside the law to survive. Building a wall does nothing to fix this system. However, Easy Citizenship would reduce undocumented immigrant convicts and crimes long term, dramatically lowering prison and legal expenses.

13. A border fence won't improve security.

Terrorists and weapons dealers are not limited to these specific 700 miles of the US-Mexico border. They would simply find other route like the other 1,489 miles not fenced, 5,525 miles on the Canadian border, 95,000 miles of coastline, or airlines [13]. This border fence would not protect against terrorism or gun smugglers. Additionally, organized drug smugglers will be further incentivized due to the border fence (see 11).

Border Patrol does not inspect food-items for freshness—border fences will not improve food safety.

By dramatically reducing the number of undocumented entries, the border patrol will be able to more effectively attend to real security concerns.























Debate Round No. 2


Con's plan provides no serious check on terrorists

Con's plan is to grant resident status to anyone who manages to cross the border illegally, with no penalty until after they break the law and are caught. There can be no background check until after they are caught. If a terrorist illegally crosses the border into the US right after completing a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan or Somalia, there are no grounds for deporting the terrorist, because he has not yet committed a crime in the US and is a citizen of where ever he was born. The terrorist is immediately eligible for citizenship under Pro's plan. We should therefore expect large numbers of jihadists, financed by Iran and radical elements in Saudi Arabia, for example, to take residence.

Under Con's plan, immigration is limited only by the number of people who can cross the border, and the plan proposes no improvement in border security. Last year, 356,873 illegal immigrants crossing the border were apprehended by the border patrol. [13.] The best estimate is that about half of the illegal entrants are caught. [14.] That means there are about 750,000 people each year who can immediately become residents with be subject subject to being deported.

Mexico and Central America has severe economic and social problems. So long as the US has a better economy, people will seek to migrate. Poor countries support illegal immigration into the U.S. According to the former president of Mexico, [15.] Cuba attempted to push criminals and the mentally ill into the US. Terrorist and criminals are unchecked after crimes are committed.

Con's plan does not seriously address any of the reasons I cited in 1.2 through 1.8. These are the conventional reasons why virtually every democratic country wants secure borders. A border that allows 750,000 people to cross each year and uncounted tons of contraband clearly does not have secure borders.

Illegal immigration has high costs, not legal immigration

Con cites a study that immigration as a whole is net benefit. Immigration comprises the legal high-skill high-pay technical workers admitted under H-1B visas, and low-skilled low-paid illegal immigrants. There are not many immigrants in the middle, so illegal immigration is contributing to increasing wage disparity. Con's source evaluates immigration as whole and claims a net financial benefit. That's irrelevant to the present debate, which is about the costs of the illegal population.

If it were true that the lowest-paid segment of the population paid more in taxes than they got in services, then every branch of government would be running surpluses without any need for progressive taxation. In fact, the top earners are paying most of the taxes.

Con claims that FAIR is racist and, preposterously, so is Fox News. We actually don't need to know the motives of collecting data on immigration costs, because the tally of costs exists independent of the reason for compiling it. The FAIR analysis of costs [16.] provides references to original sources in government. The amounts paid in taxes is deducted from the total cost.

Many of the costs are undeniable. For example, free medical care is provided by emergency rooms. The education of illegal immigrant children is expensive, and would be avoided with a guest worker program that allowed seasonal workers to leave their families in their home countries. There is no doubt of the cost of keeping a prison population due to allowing immigration without background checks prior to admission. To justify a border fence only $1.1 billion of the $113 billion need be proved.

A border fence is relatively cheap

The construction cost of the fence is the fence is $16 billion, using very pessimistic numbers. The fence lasts 20 years, again, a very conservative number, so the amortized construction cost is $0.8 billion. To that maintenance and operational costs of $0.3 billion per year are added. That ratio of construction to maintenance costs are about what the Israelis have experienced, and they are consistent with what Governor Perry claims in opposing the fence. Con errs in asserting that construction costs are in addition to $1.1 billion per year. Those costs are included.

If illegal immigrants are prevented from entering at the border, there is much less need to catch them, house them, and carry out deportation. The cost of deporting an immigrant is $12,500, for a total cost of $5 billion per year. [17.] So if the fence reduced the influx by as little as 25%, the fence would be paid for entirely within the DHS budget.

Improved security justifies a fence

Con argues that a border fence will not improve security because there are alternate routes. That logic is fundamentally flawed. It implies that there is no point in taking any security measures whatsoever, because no matter what is done there will always be alternatives. We should minimize the chances of a successful terrorist attack, contraband, and illegal immigration. Border control allows the government to set policy on who and what comes into the United States.

For example, if border security reduces the odds of a successful terrorist attack from from 1 in 20 to 1 in 40, then the measure is justified. The 9/11 attack cost the country about $100 billion dollars plus 3000 lives. Cutting the frequency of 9/11-scale attacks from 1 every 20 years to 1 in every 40 years saves an average of $2.5 billion per year.

The reason there is only 700 miles of fencing proposed is that other areas of the border pose natural obstacles, mainly canyons and the Rio Grande. The river causes a delay in crossing the border, so there is time for the Border Patrol to react to sensor data and respond. There is no point in building a fence on the bluff atop a steep canyon wall, because the climb down into the canyon and up the other side provides enough delay for border patrol agents to respond to sensors that detect the activity. There must be a road, but a double fence is unnecessary.

Contraband is stopped

17 million pounds of marijuana alone were seized on the Mexican border over a six year period. [18.] The contraband could be anything from which there is an illegal profit, including WMDs. Securing the border channels good through legal ports of entry so the Customs and Border Protection Service can check it.

The service also monitors agricultural products. They guard against agro-terrorism, the deliberate introduction of plant pests and diseases to cripple domestic agriculture. [19.]

The fence can be run around Native American lands

One solution to these objections is to provide monitored gates through the fence. Interstate highways divide land all over the U.S., making it only possible to cross over the highway at a relatively few places where overpasses are built. However, if the tribe insists that they believe a fence is less desirable than stopping illegal activities from the border, then in each case the border fence can be run around the northern perimeter of the tribal lands. The ports of entry would then be between the tribal lands and the United States.

Wildlife crossings work well

Highways, train right-of-ways, and canals interfere with the migration of species as much or more than a border fence. The solution is to provide a path, usually through a tunnel, for animals to cross the obstruction. The species in question are small enough to traverse tunnels too small for humans. For a large species, sensors could monitor the tunnel and a gate closed if there were people using the tunnel. Wikipedia has a long article on the implementation of wildlife crossings. [20.]


Water can pass through an array of stacked pipes that would keep out people.



Thanks for the responce, Pro!

Also, please don't forget to use new R4 arguments only to rebut new R3 arguments!


Pro misunderstands my counterplan, saying it grants citizenship to persons who will cross the border illegally; however, crossing the border illegally after the bill is passed will still be against the law.

To restate, my counterplan: 1. Gives illegally-residing persons immunity from immigration charges and offers undocumented immigrants (without other charges) citizenship, and 2. Makes citizenship easy to acquire. This means less deportation.

Undocumented (illegal) immigration is great for the US economy. All of my sources were addressing undocumented immigration [3, 4, 5, 7, 8].

-They pay taxes, but receive only minimal government services. They give far more money to the government than they receive [4, 5, 7].

-They fill a gap in the labor force of low-paying jobs, vastly increasing the net productivity of industries like agriculture [4].
-They increase the wages of native-born persons [4].

-They prevent companies from taking their jobs overseas, opening up more jobs than they occupy [23]. Immigrants in general tend to avoid conflict with native jobs since they have different skill sets [24].

-They contribute a net of $1.8 trillion to the government and create 8.1 million new jobs [3].

Granting undocumented immigrants legal status will increase the gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.4 Trillion over the next 10 years (half the time of building the fence) and create over 200,000 net jobs each year [25].

FAIR is a hate group [1], and its study has several "critical errors," including ignoring the fact that undocumented immigrant education benefits the US economy [2].

I did not call Fox "racist."

The US already has a guest worker program (H-2 Visa) [34].
It has done little to help the economy or stop undocumented immigration. Guest worker programs are bad for the US economy, because the workers can’t stay in the US to spend wages or give taxes.

The fences would break the US-Mexico treaty.

Pro says that the fence would not interrupt water flow; however, this is not only false [31] (construction WOULD change the flow) but also irrelevant because the issue at hand is the Mexican government’s interpretation, which calls the fence a violation of the treaty.

If the US builds the triple-fence without Mexico’s consent, there would likely be trade sanctions, which would mean a loss of $500 B in trade imports/exports per year and millions of jobs [19]. Over 20 years, that would mean a loss of $10 T in trade.

Counterplan increases security.
With Easy Citizenship, almost no one will cross the border illegally because legally crossing would be easier, safer, more beneficial, etc.

The only reason to cross the border would be criminal activity. Border patrol agents would only need to catch a few hundred persons instead of 750,000 persons, making them far more effective.

Pro’s fence plan puts US at risk of terrorism.

According to a study, “no terrorist or terrorist weapon” has ever been intercepted at the border checkpoint [29]. Even without the fence it would still be too risky for a terrorist to enter the US along the Mexico border.

Persons trying to become citizens need a criminal background check in my counterplan. This is essentially the same security for legal citizenship, visas, or guest programs in Pro’s plan.

Because Pro’s plan only blocks a tiny portion of the US borders, a terrorist could enter illegally using another route.

Pro’s plan makes it harder to live in the US and breaks the US-Mexico treaty, both of which would heighten anti-US hatred and increase the risk of terrorism.

Border fences would make drug/gun situation worse.

Most of the drugs/guns enter through checkpoints because illegally transporting a truck (as opposed to a person) across a non-checkpoint border is very difficult. Pro neglects to give a single instance of a drug/gun smuggling success because of a faulty/absent fence.

Pro drops my point that even if the new fence makes smuggling harder, it would also increase the price of drugs and incentivize drug cartels, greatly increasing violence and gangs near the border.

Likewise, the fence would fund the more powerful gun runners, which would lead to the smuggling of more dangerous weapons.

Easy Citizenship would decrease crime

Pro dropped the point that my counterplan would allow immigrants to living according to the law, and would moreover dramatically reduce crime, short-term and long-term. This would save billions of dollars in prison stays and legal work.

Alternative pt 1: Pro’s fence diverts $16 B away from Department of Homeland Security, decreasing security in the homeland. My counterplan instead gives $12 B to border patrol.

Most contraband goes through the checkpoints. Currently, border patrol misses about 30% of this illegal contraband [30]. By diverting even part of the funds to the border patrol, they will be able to more effectively secure the US.

In addition, these funds will be able to make border traffic faster, helping the economy and reducing pollution due to long waits [32].

Alternative pt. 2: Veterans and Indian Nations ($4 B)

Indian nations have a very low college attendance rate [33]. Public schools near reservations are notoriously under-funded [33]. Thus, $2 B funding public schools near Indian nations would increase education, allow better jobs, and fight poverty.

1/3 of the US homeless population are veterans [26], mainly because they can’t afford housing and many are suffering from substance dependence [26]. My counterplan will give $2 B to non-interest loans to help veterans afford housing and provide veterans free therapy for substance abuse and PTSD.

Easy Citizenship stops sex trafficking, but Pro’s plan does not.

Pro dropped the fact that Easy Citizenship will eliminate nearly 100% of sex trafficking by ending recruitment, saving tens of thousands each year. The border fence will do little or nothing to help.

Pro’s plan would destroy 3 species

Pro’s proposed bypass would fail. The government had spent $80 M on trying to bring the species' populations together without a border fence [16] so a tiny tunnel would hardly unite the populations, especially alongside noise and light (especially during construction!) that stops breeding and the predator risk by the tunnel.

The fences would increase the spread of non-native species [31].

The fences would increase erosion and water contamination [31].

The fences would devastate 3 Indian nations.

Putting the fence to the north would mean that to enter the Indian nations one would need to pass border security, which would effectively smother business to and from the reservations. Native American reservations are already extremely impoverished (often as much as 60%) [28], with 10 times the average without electricity [27]. Their already fragile economies would be obliterated as a result of the fence, leading to unthinkable unemployment and poverty.

If the fences go through instead of around the reservations, they will not only degrade the land but also destroy burial grounds and gravestones [31].

Pro’s plan steals land from the poor.

Pro dropped that vast majority of the border fence will be taken from the land of poor persons who cannot represent themselves in court, and thus do not get fair monetary compensation [20].

The increasing fence security would cause immigrants to take dangerous routes, killing thousands [10, 14].

Pro's words are offensive.

He says the US should reject the poor and mentally-handicapped from Cuba, a suggestion that is either elitist, ablest, racist, or a combination of the three.













Debate Round No. 3


A border fence is inexpensive security

Con accepts that an effective double fence can be constructed and maintained at a cost of $1.1 billion per year, a very small part of the Homeland Security Budget of $60B. The current fence has conveniently placed openings allowing free access to the United States, and 750,000 people a year now enter illegally. The open border allows gun runners, criminals intent on kidnapping and human trafficking, terrorists fresh from jihad school, drug smugglers, producers of counterfeit drugs and vehicle parts, and anyone wishing economic benefits. Experience from the Israeli and Saudi fences shows over 99% effectiveness. The US experience confirms that effectiveness over the few miles of secure fence that have been built.

The U.S. has adopted a policy of not fighting wars against terrorism on foreign soil. Terrorists will therefore have safe havens to construct WMDs and plan attacks. That means that border security is much more important than ever before, and will increase in importance. We are now banking everything on border security. Con did not dispute this.

Con's argument is that terrorists will always find a way into the country. The experience in the Israel is that terrorist attacks were almost completely eliminated by a secure border fence, despite having unfenced coastline and continued access through portals. The objective is to reduce the influx to low levels.

Under the Con plan only deportation of past illegal entrants would stop. That would has little effect on costs, because 59% of those now deported are felons and most of the rest are caught in the process of entry. [21.] Savings in deportation along more than pay for the fence.

The supply of low-skilled workers should be controlled

Con's sources do not address continued illegal immigration. At most they support amnesty for current illegals as an alternative to continued illegal status.

Unskilled illegal immigrants are at the bottom strata of income earners, and we now need dramatic transfers of wealth to support the bottom strata, that unlimited low-skilled illegal immigrants have a high cost, especially for educating the children of illegals and providing medical care through free emergency-room services. The logic is inescapable. Con's [23] (i.e.... C23) say that having low-skilled workers let's citizens get higher paying jobs. If so, then legal immigration policy can allow that. C24 says that granting citizenship to illegal aliens presently in the country is better economically than retaining all the illegal immigrants without giving them legal status. That's not an argument for unlimited future illegal immigration.

C3 clearly discusses both legal and illegal immigration. Every graph shows the legal immigration category, and there is a discussion of the highly educated H1-B immigrants in contrast to the low-skilled illegal population. I don't see any reference to a $1.8 trillion contribution to the economy, but such a claim must be compared to legal immigration. The cited advantage of illegal immigration is that they are effectively exempt from wage and benefits laws, lowering costs. If that's a good idea, it should made legal for everyone.

C3 says, “If immigrants are a net fiscal drain, the total impact of immigration on the United States would be positive only if the immigration surplus exceeded the fiscal transfer made to immigrants. For low-skilled immigration, whether legal or illegal, this does not appear to be the case.”

The study was written in 2007 and there were shortages of low-skilled labor, a key assumption of the analysis. That's no longer the case. The study pointedly ignores the costs of crime, terrorism, and smuggling.

C5 is dated Jan 2000 that projects immigration economic benefits in future generations of the existing population. It says nothing about a policy of uncontrolled low-skilled immigration compared to legal immigration based on the needs of the economy. It ignores costs of criminals and terrorists.

C7 says that an amnesty bill passed in the Senate would have a positive effect on Social Security for the next ten years, when new immigrants are contributing and few are collecting. It argues that immigrants will have so many contributing children, that contributions will keep up for 75 years. In other words, a Ponzi scheme can work for a while until it fails. The article also quotes a RAND expert on labor markets, “Immigrants [are]... a drain on state and local budgets, largely because of education. So isolating one program is always a mistake.”

C25 says giving citizenship to current illegal residents would save money over not granting citizenship. It says nothing about continued open borders.

The current US guest worker program doesn't work because “it's too bureaucratic and too costly, and farmers can't get workers fast enough.” The Canadian guest worker program is much better. The US guest worker program requires various benefits to the workers, and so long as there is an unlimited supply of undocumented workers, employers are unlikely to opt for bureaucratic burdens that cost more. Cutting off the illegal alternative and moving closer to the Canadian model solves those problems. [22.]

Threat of sanctions

Mexico has no credible threat of sanctions against the US. We could retaliate by cutting off the money sent home by immigrants, their greatest source of revenue according to the president of Mexico. The US imports $280 billion from Mexico and exports $225 billion. [23.] However, the US has an economy 15 times that of Mexico, so Mexico would be foolish to even try.

Other arguments

No one travels to a border when they know crossing is impossible. I said that if natural obstacles are inadequate, then we should build more fence.

Con's sources express general concern over wildlife, but gives no reason why wildlife crossings would not work. They work everywhere else a major road or rail line has been constructed. The 750,000 illegals crossing the border do far more ecological damage than a fence and little-use patrol road.

Con claims that building a fence across Native Lands would be devastating, but nothing addresses my solution of building around the lands, if that's what Native Americans choose. Native Americans are in poverty because they live in little socialist paradises where private property is not allowed. It has nothing to do with fences.

Con's sources say that the problem of water flow has been solved, and gives the solution. Con says that the US must honor every objection from Mexico, even if bogus. No, Mexico jealously guards it southern borders for economic reasons and is simply posturing.

Con would illegal human trafficking until they eventually apply for citizenship. Far better to know who is in the country so they can be checked.

Con argues that we should have open borders, let in terrorists and criminals, and use enforcement money for good works of charity. The United States Constitution requires by oath that protecting and defending the United States be the highest priority of government, not establishing a welfare state. That makes perfect sense, because only a secure country can prosper. Besides, I cited the high cost of criminality, easily prevented by background checks before entry.

Cuba deliberately dumped their criminally insane into the US, and open borders makes that tactic available to any country. Con argued it would be racist to reject people just because they are criminally insane. Don't worry, I'd keep out criminally insane Swedes equally. it has nothing to do with race.

Con argues that controlling borders is racist. That means that every country in the world, notably Mexico, is racist. Mexico has fences and extreme punishments for illegal entry from Central America. All countries recognize control of borders as part of sovereignty. So should the U.S.



"...Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,”

--Plaque on the Statue of Liberty

“The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers”

–Princess Leia

UI = Undocumented Immigration

UIs = Undocumented Immigrants


The topic of this debate is on whether or not the USFG should build and maintain a border fence. Pro offered a plan to build a fence, whereas I offered a counterplan. As agreed, the winner of this debate will be whoever’s advocacy has the most net benefits overall.

My opponent’s plan would demolish the US economy, decrease border security, perpetuate criminal activity, incentivize drug cartels, put the US at a higher risk of a terrorist attack, kill tens of thousands of immigrants, break a treaty with Mexico, drive 3 species to extinction, devastate 3 Indian nations, steal from the poor, and take $16 B away from Homeland Security (and doesn’t stop UI).

In contrast, my plan eliminates nearly 100% of UI, rockets the US economy, boosts native-born and non-native-born workers’ incomes, provides more jobs, bolsters the GDP, stops 100% human trafficking, protects against terrorism, cuts prison costs in half in the short term and far more in the long run, reduces crime, eliminates border-crossing deaths, gives $12 B to border patrol, reduces pollution, reduces criminal activity on the US Mexico border, and reduces poverty in American Indians and veterans.

Undocumented immigration (UI) prevention

My opponent says my plan advocates open borders and accepts UIs. This is false; crossing the border illegal will still be against the US law under my counterplan.

My counterplan replaces UI with legal immigration by making citizenship easy (one only needs to pass a background check).

My counterplan:

My counterplan stops nearly 100% of undocumented immigration (UI). Currently, crossing the border illegally is dangerous and difficult; nevertheless, nearly 750,000 UIs enter the US each year. My counterplan makes immigrating as a citizen far easier than immigrating illegally; thus, my counterplan would cause most of these 750,000 people to be citizens instead of UIs.

Because the only people who would be crossing without documents are looking to avoid the law generally, my counterplan would reduce the attempted UIs to a few hundred. Pro does not contest these numbers. It would be far easier for border patrol to catch a few hundred than a few hundred thousand—Pro does not dispute this claim. Therefore, there would be a nearly 100% end of successful undocumented immigration, a huge wave of legal immigration, AND a near 100% end of crime due to border crossing.

Pro’s Plan:

Pro states that his fence will stop UI. Unfortunately, this claim is bogus. It only covers 1/3 of the US-Mexico land border. Pro says that the other parts of the border are impossible to cross. I have shown that UIs do cross these dangerous paths, sometimes even to their deaths.

Pro states in R4 that if border crossing seems hard, immigrants will stop trying. Not only is this claim false, but it is also contradictory. Pro says in R3:

“So long as the US has a better economy [than Mexico], people will seek to migrate. Poor countries support illegal immigration into the U.S.

According to Pro’s earlier claim, persons from less wealthy nations will try to migrate no matter what—fence or no fence. Even if Pro’s fence is 100% effective, these 750,000 persons will try to immigrate around the fence, and will subsequently die, be deported, or successfully immigrate illegally.

Immigration & the economy

Undocumented immigration (UI) is good for the economy, but documented immigration is best. Pro’s plan takes away UI but doesn’t make documented immigration easier (good-->bad), I replace UI with legal immigration (good-->best).

I therefore make two claims using my evidence: (1) UI is good, (2) documented immigration is best.

Pro does not dispute 2, which means that I already win the economic debate: My counterplan is “best,” providing an influx of legal immigration to replace UI, whereas Pro’s plan is either only “good” (if UIs are bad) or “bad” (if UIs are good).

Just to be sure, I will also review my evidence that Pro’s plan is economically disastrous.

First, Pro’s criticism of C3, C5, and C7 are all inappropriate new points.

I give eight reliable sources [3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 23, 24, 25] that UI is great for the economy, although legal immigration is best. Pro’s plan slows both UI and legal immigration, destroying jobs, lowering income, and losing over $1 T.

Pro’s new argument that the US suddenly acquired a surplus of cheap labor within a 3-year timespan is uncited and outrageous.

Pro’s only “source” is a hate group (FAIR) [1] that only selects the evidence it prefers, ignoring, for example, the economic benefits of education [2]. Pro doesn't contest either point. Thus, all my sources are entirely unchallenged.

Guest programs don’t increase the GDP, and thus wouldn’t help the US economy.


No undocumented immigrant has ever been found to be a terrorist or carrying a terrorist weapon, ever.

There are 100,000+ miles of border not protected by the fence. Pro’s plan only covers 1/3 of the US-Mexico border. Terrorists could obviously go anywhere else.

Pro takes $16 B away from the Department of Homeland Security.

The fence would cause Mexican hatred toward the US for halting immigration and breaking a treaty, creating a population of terrorists who neighbor the US. Additionally, breaking the treaty may mean a loss in $10 T in trade.

Drug cartels’/weapons dealers’ incentives

Drugs and weapons go across the checkpoints, not through the unpaved borders, rendering the fence pointless. Pro drops this point.

The border fence if successful incentivizes drug cartels and eliminates their small-time competition. The same goes for weapons dealers. Thus, the border fence would make the border more insecure due to drug/weapon trade violence.


Forcing undocumented immigrants outside the law increases crime. Pro says my plan would only reduce the immediate jail expenses by about half; in contrast, Pro’s plan doesn’t give any immediate expense relief. In the long run, my plan lowers crime in general and saves money.

The fence will kill thousands of humans

Under Pro’s plan, undocumented immigrants will be forced to cross dangerous territories where thousands have already died, leading to tens of thousands of deaths. Life should be valued over economic concerns.

Human trafficking (uncontested)

Unlike a border fence, Easy Citizenship stops sex trafficking entirely by eliminating recruitment. Pro doesn’t contest this point.

The fence will kill 3 species.

I’ve already mentioned by bypasses won’t work. The fence contributes to bright light and noises which prevent breeding, and also prevent approaching the fence/overpass. Both mating and meeting across the border is necessary for their survival. These points were unrefuted.

Three Indian reservations

My R3 arguments was nearly entirely devoted to the problems of constructing a fence around the reservations. Pro makes a bogus new argument that there is no business in reservations. In fact, most of these three nations’ reservation income comes from tourism and casinos. The fence would kill these businesses, throwing the impoverished tribespersons into deeper poverty.

Pro’ plan steals land from the poor without appropriate compensation (uncontested).

My alternative increases security ($12 B to the Border Patrol) reduces poverty in veterans ($2 B or interest-free loans), as well as improves public education for Indian nations ($2 B).


Pro equates the “mentally-ill” (R3) to the “criminally-insane” (R4), and demands that they be rejected from the United States. Criminal insanity refers exclusively to using the insanity plea during a trial; it is not a diagnosis. Having two “mental illnesses,” I am surprised to learn that I am not fit to be an American. For shame.
Debate Round No. 4
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Boesball 6 years ago
Con gave a very good fight
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago

Pro wins that the fence is cost-less within the short term. Pro wins near-absolute solvency with his assertions that the fence would be like Israel's. Con does a bit of mitigation by arguing diversion, but hurts himself with the deaths argument (which proves that other areas are not cross-able). With strong solvency, Pro also gets links to preventing terrorism, which seems to be an important impact. Pro also wins at least some cost savings from deportations and incarceration. I think cost savings and terrorism outweigh harm to 3 species, inconvenience to 3 Native American tribes, and poor people getting less than full compensation for their land, so I vote Pro.
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
So I don't see why the ability to grant amnesty means I shouldn't vote for a border fence. Con fails to capture Pro's cost savings and the improvement in security (in regards to terrorism).

== Illegals are good for the economy ==

This is also not a unique benefit to the counterplan. Those same illegals are here now. Pro never advocated stepped up deportations. Con claims some unique benefits from amnesty, but I fail to see how these are mutually exclusive, or even true. Pro responded to this by saying that if illegal immigrants already pay more in taxes than they take in government services, how does legalizing them increase the benefits to the economy? Con never provides a warrant. It seems like if anything, allowing them to draw out their contributions from Social Security costs the government money.

It also devastating to Con's counterplan that Con [sorry for the gendered pronoun before] never answers the argument that *all* of Con's cost figures include legal immigrants. Con needed to say which numbers did and did not include H1-B visa recipients and other legal immigrants. This dropped argument takes out most of Con's cost arguments anyway, even absent the mutual exclusivity problems here.

Con's response to FAIR was inadequate. It's not enough to call them racist. Saying that they fail to account for the benefits of education is a good refutation though. But ultimately, with the dropped arguments here, I consider ts cost debate a wash.
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
== Steals land from the poor ==

Again, I'm not told why this is a bad thing. Con's own argument acknowledges that the poor would get *some* compensation in a condemnation action (exercising eminent domain), but argues that the poor would not get the *full amount* owed to them because they cannot afford a lawyer to fight it in court. The label that this "steals" land from the poor is a little sensationalist. The argument should really be tagged as: "the poor will get some money, but it's not what they are fully owed, or rather not what a rich person with a lawyer would get for the same property." That may be true, but it's hard to say that that outweighs cost savings elsewhere in the nation. Maybe if Con adopted a weighing mechanism about Lockean property rights outweighing other things, then I might give this more weight, but such a weighing mechanism is counter to the Constitution, which authorizes the use of eminent domain.

== Con's amnesty counterplan ==

Con's counterplan allows anyone without a criminal record who currently resides in the US to become a citizen. This has a bunch of net benefits -- allegedly -- but none of mutually exclusive with a border fence, so it's hard for Con to generate offense here. Con *claims* that his counterplan solves illegal immigration, but this doesn't make any sense. Con *claims* that the reason for this is that once there is an easy and "legitimate" way to cross the border and become a citizen, people will have no reason to immigrate illegally. However, this is true *only if* Con extended citizenship to people who *do not currently reside* in the US. But Con explicitly disclaimed that his plan did this in response to Roy. I think Pro is correct in saying that Con's plan does *nothing* to address the illegal *immigration* problem. It may address the illegal *immigrant* problem (the problem posed by current illegal residents), but it doesn't stop the *flow* of new illegal immigrants.
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
== Drugs ==

Pro drops the argument that *all* drugs pass through border checkpoints, which is problematic, *but* Pro's plan doesn't really make the ineffectiveness of the border patrol *worse.* Con claims this as a turn, but it is only a takeout. This point goes to Con and I weigh it as proving that Pro's plan does not improve the drug problem.

Con takes out his own turn here. Con's turn (about drug prices going up) relies on Pro's plan to be *effective* at intercepting drugs. By arguing that Pro's plan is *ineffective* at decreasing the flow of drugs, *Con takes out his own turn.* Con would have done better if he conceded Pro solvency on the drug issue and *just* went for the turn. As it stands, Con gets no offense from this argument. [Sidenote: this is a corollary to double turning yourself].

== Native American lands ==

This is the only place where Con is generating any offense, yet no impact is provided. Why are the integrity of Indian lands so important? Con claims that the economies of Native American reservations would be harmed, but can I "outweigh" those harms with billions in cost savings from the fence? I assume so, since I'm not told in the debate that Indian rights outweigh. Con *could have* argued that Native American tribes deserve special rights to the integrity of their lands because we have screwed them over so many times in the past. But he doesn't ask me to adopt this weighing mechanism (to elevate Native American rights over those of other Americans), so I find this argument easily outweighed by the economic benefits of the fence (in terms of incarceration and deportation costs).
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
but I thought you guys should know.]

== Animals ==

No impact is given. Even if I grant Con 3 extinctions, I'm not told why these animal species are important. On some level, each extinction is a little bad, but does an animal extinction always outweigh $1 billion in cost savings? It's hard to say without a weighing mechanism like the precautionary principle (kbub, see raisor's debate against Roy on ANWR for a good example of the use of the precautionary principle as a weighing mechanism).

== Dead border jumpers ==

As far as the debate goes, I'm not sure why this is a bad thing. The weighing mechanism I'm forced to adopt doesn't weigh the deaths of non-US citizens as bad. If anything, these deaths prove Roy's argument that the fence doesn't have to extend everywhere because there are certain portions that are uncrossable. It seems strange to say the US should open its border because crazy people die trying to do impossible crossings. Even under Con's plan, these people would still die because they die in the status quo, so either Con is arguing for completely open borders or is asking me to guess how much "worse" these border deaths would get if we had a better fence. In essence, Con has a really weak link here and no impact.

== Terrorism ==

Con's "turn" here is asinine. I don't buy an unsourced one-sentence argument that Mexicans would become so incensed by the fence that they would turn to terrorism. There has not been a single past example of a Mexican-national jihadist.

Con's argument that a fence makes it "easier" to cross because "there are other routes" is also silly. As Roy says, the fence is not foolproof but forces people to use much more difficult routes. [Sidenote: Con should have said most terrorists overstay visas rather than crossing the Mexican border (see, e.g., all of the 9/11 terrorists, save one)].
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago

There are a ridiculous number of drops in this debate, which makes it hard to judge. There is also a serious lack of impacting and no weighing mechanism is given, so I'm forced to adopt my own weighing mechanism and assign my own impacts to the things in the debate.

The lack of a weighing mechanism hurts Con more than Pro because my *default* weighing mechanism is a cost-benefit analysis in which nations are expected (under basic IR principles) to prioritize the well-being of their own citizens over those of other nations. This mechanism becomes important when weighing "lives lost" from crossing dangerous parts of the border. So the *weighing mechanism* is a cost-benefit analysis that ignores "benefits" to Mexico, since that's the default mechanism and the topic seems to be from the US perspective.

Now let's go through all the arguments.

== Cost of the Fence ==

Con concedes that the fence isn't very costly and *pays for itself* by reducing deportation and incarceration costs. Con therefore gains no ground here. It is incoherent to claim that we could spend $16 billion on other things when the fence is a *net cost saver.* This argument goes to Pro. Given that the fence is basically free, Con has to win a *different* unique disadvantage to the fence in order to win this debate. So let's go through each of the disadvantages.

== Water ==

Pro responds with a solution to the water problem (vertical slats that people can't cross). Con claims minor diversion still happens from construction. Pro responds that Mexico wouldn't retaliate against this and is just posturing and that an embargo hurts them more than it does us because we would cut off financial transfers from immigrants here. This goes to Pro. [Sidenote: if we import more than we export to Mexico, the basic GDP equation tells us that an embargo hurts them more than us. Imports are not counted as a "benefit" to an economy. No one made this argument so I don't weigh it,
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
Another addendum:

I kept going over this debate in my head and coming up with different evaluations. So I reread the debate and got a different decision. So I reread it again.

In the end, I'm still inclined to buy Pro's arguments that the economic impact is slanting towards him. I'm finding it more and more difficult to buy any level of significance on his terrorism point, since the link story just seems weaker every time I read it. However, the economic points seem more strongly linked and more certain on Pro's side nonetheless.

However, I find that they get mitigated to a large extent. Con's own links on the economic outcomes get too little attention before R4, and though they're generally weaker link stories, they call what I know about the economics involved from Pro's case into question. This brings down the impact to a lower level, and so now it has the ability to be overtaken by other aspects.

Con provides several points that, admittedly, have smaller and more transient effects. Nonetheless, there's weight to them, chiefly because of the strong and uncontested link stories. The sex trafficking point isn't impacted as much as I'd want, but this is a much larger issue affecting untold lives. Con also tells me that he's going to save far more lives as a result of reducing dangerous border crossings to a minimum, and so the lives saved there do matter.

I'm still wavering. I buy enough impact to make me swing Pro based on economics alone, but the most certain impacts in the debate are Con's, however little they're weighed in the debate. In the end, I would rather accept the certainty of outcomes over something I keep oscillating on, no matter its impact. Hence, I switch my vote to Con.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
Actual Decision:

The decision comes down to this.

I give Pro a slight lead on the financial aspects, mainly because I'm most inclined to pay attention to sure costs over those that are less certainly linked to the resolution. If this was a debate about immigration policy as a whole instead of just about our response to further immigration, Con would win this point, but too much of her sources are extra-topical. This is compounded by those terrorism concerns, though these are mitigated enough to gain only a slight advantage. Even a slight one is enough, however, since the impact is large.

Meanwhile, Con is winning all of the local harms analyses, as well as sex trafficking. The link stories here are more solid, and their direct impact on lives is higher. I find that Con does the best job telling a story that connects the dots for me.

So it's all about which harms I view as most important to the debate. Pro gives me the most solid analysis of the wider point that everyone agrees is important, but I lack the impact discussion necessary to link it back to human costs. Meanwhile, the harms I'm getting from Con are much better linked to human costs, but lack the level of significance I get from Pro.

Ultimately, I go with the overall direction of the debate over my personal biases for strong link stories and direct impacts. I see enough coming from Pro to make me believe that money could be spent in other places for a wider benefit to everyone, though specifics would have made this much stronger. Also, the transience of the harms from Con, save the sex trafficking, make me question their importance by comparison. Indian reservations that are short-lived are, sad to say, going to showcase short term harms. Much as I am disinclined to just vote for the larger impact because it's there, Pro has given me enough to go off of in order to support his case, if just barely. A little more impact weighing from Con would likely have swayed me.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago

Alright, there's a lot going on in this debate, and I'm going to see what I can do to clamp down on the key issues.

Pro has two major points that get expanded upon throughout the debate (though there were several smaller points from R1 I was surprised disappeared as the debate went on). The points are with regards to security and the cost of illegal immigrants. The latter gets some direct confrontation from Con's arguments, so I'll address that in detail last. The terrorism point, however, holds some weight, though not as much as he would like. Con points out that much of our borders wouldn't be covered by fencing. This is really only mitigation, and I would have liked to see more with regards to why it is meant to mitigate the whole point.

Pro rightly points out that any coverage dissuades intrusion, and that even a small reduction in the chance of a terrorist attack occurring is a big gain. Con is right to say that we haven't seen an undocumented immigrant who is also a terrorist, but I'm wanting for an argument about the Mexican border specifically being used as a crossing point. Pro never provides an example of any terrorist group utilizing this border, nor do I see any reason to believe that it will be utilized in the future. Those could have been points of attack, as well as providing some reasons why the Mexican border is probably the most ridiculous point of entry anyway. As I don't see that argument, I can at least give Pro the possibility that the very small chance of a terrorist crossing that border is minimized. It's not enough to win the debate by itself, but it's enough to swing a close decision.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Pro provided a greater amount of augments while Con's were too narrow. The border fence arguments convinced very well on how much protection they would provide and the need for reform in immigration policy. Sources were even.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Given... very extensively... in comments.
Vote Placed by vekoma123 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I think this was a very great debate on whether or not the border fence should exist. I think that Pro's proposal for border security is a great proposal, though I can see how it may affect reservations and wildlife. At the same time, I'm getting the notion that Con is basing most arguments on finances and human rights activism, which are only two aspects of the entire issue. I agree that there should be some way of easier immigration processing, but only to a point because we want to make sure that current, legal American citizens will be able to have jobs and not have to compete as much with imported foreign workers. At the same time, I feel that more protection is needed against drug cartels because of homeland security reasons, and because illegal citizens have committed a crime, they are criminals, and there is nothing that can justify their actions. That being said, secure the border, and provide much easier and efficient paths to citizenship. I care for safety over morality.

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