Instigator / Pro

TBHT: The US Government ought to increase the numbers of immigrants allowed into America


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
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After 4 votes and with 21 points ahead, the winner is...

Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
One week
Max argument characters
Voting period
One month
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Contender / Con

Ought to: "it is morally right to do a particular thing or that it is morally right for a particular situation to exist" [1]
Increase: "to (make something) become larger in amount or size:" [2]
Immigrants: "a person who has come to a different country in order to live there permanently:"
Allow: "to give permission for someone to do something, or to not prevent something from happening:"


General Rules:
1. No new arguments in the last round
2. Sources should be posted in the debate rounds, hyperlinked or otherwise
3. Burden of Proof is shared

Round 1
RESOLUTION: TBHT: The US Government ought to increase the numbers of immigrants allowed into America

"Between 1880 and 1920 America became the industrial and agricultural giant of the world. . . This couldnot have been done without the hard labor, the technical skills and entrepreneurial ability of the23.5 million people who came to America in this period.” (Kennedy, 1964, p. 34)" [1]
The 23.5 million people that Kennedy is talking about and Nathan Nunn, Nancy Qian, and Sandra Sequeira are referencing are the immigrants who moved to the United States during the Industrial Revolution. An example of such workers would be the huge influx of Irish people after the infamous potatoes famine in Ireland thanks to a blight [2]. These starved immigrants became a huge working power behind the, at the time, brand new infrastructure of the railroads [3]

This precedent set by one of the largest periods of immigration into America [4] continues into the current day. They have become a wave of innovators and a large percentage of the skilled workers in America, doing nothing to replace native-born people, complementing and building on Native Americans instead [5]. Furthermore, thanks to several waves of international conflict a new population of refugees are seeking asylum in America, and they would only boost this effect. 

It's not just an economic or infrastructure boost that's Immigrants and Refugees give to the American system, but they also share a core ideal of the U.S. That would be Liberty. Liberty was one of three inalienable rights that the US declared they had when writing the declaration of independence [6], and that trend was continued in the U.S constitution [7]. Refugees leave their countries because of dangerous political and military threats to their families, they are seeking what the US promises [8].

However, as of Donald John Trump's historic term as President, the number of refugees allowed into America plummeted [9]. While this was thought to be something of the past thanks to the new president Joeseph Biden, the National Immigration Report projects only 15,000 refugees will be allowed into America in the fiscal year 2021 [10]. During today's debate, I will argue why the US ought to increase the number of immigrants allowed into the U.S. 

The essential terms within the resolution are: immigrant, allow, increase, and ought - the specific resolution isn't combining any terms, so no fiddling with any definitions is needed in order to simplify my burden of proof. It is very simple, I am responsible for demonstrating that the U.S ought (or is morally obligated to) increase the number of immigrants allowed into America. In contrast, my opponent has to demonstrate that they ought not to allow more immigrants into the U.S. To clarify the B.O.P even more; currently, the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) allows the U.S to give 675,000 visas for permanent residence, I am arguing that it should be higher, Con is arguing lower.

  • The resolution clearly refers to the moral obligations of the US, arguments regarding the legal impacts are therefore not topical - as they fall outside of the resolution. (Topicality is a priori issue)
  • Words such as "allow" within the resolution are distinct in clarifying that we are not discussing illegal immigrants allowed into the US, we are talking about legal permanent residents. 

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence [6]:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"
As I began discussing in my opening statement, both the U.S Constitution and the Declaration of Independence cite Liberty as one of the foundational and unalienable rights of someone of the U.S. As such, one of the primary principles that the US should keep itself accountable regarding is liberty. Not just liberty regarding within its own borders, to deny somebody help of achieving their own liberty whenever we have the resources to do so would be fundamentally contradicting to our founding principles. The fact of the matter is that things like armed conflicts that have our attention internationally are typically trending downward [11], however, military budgets are rapidly increasing [12]

There is a clear moral obligation to the refugees, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has displaced tens of millions of refugees [12], regardless of these mass refugees effort, America is continuously lowering the number of refugees into its borders, despite the fact that we have literally excess billions of dollars being spent on increasingly lowering conflicts in the middle east. These people seek freedom, not just from violent dictators, or ultra-military governments, but from disease and starvation. These people need the US's help, we have the resources, we need the workforce (huge worker shortages according to the National Labor Statistics: [13]), and they need our help. 

Gouverneur Morris, The U.S Constitution [7]:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Immigrants have shown empirical growth to the long-term status of the economy, while this is typically associated with short-term problems, they are far outweighed by the long-term benefits.  The first study I will be citing to inform my argument is: "The Effects of Immigration on the United States’ Economy" a background brief by the University of  Pennsylvania [14]. Before I dive into the deductive syllogism arguing in favor of immigrants supporting the economy, I should take some time to debunk some common misconceptions regarding Immigrants in the U.S workforce. (While the study cited above will inform my argument for the contention, numerous sources inform the debunks)

  • "Immigrants take jobs from Native-born Americans" - This is probably one of the most commonly cited arguments. The general logic is that immigrants will move into a new community with a diverse skill set, and are generally willing to work for lower wages than Native-born Americans, therefore, they would obviously steal jobs away from native workers. This is actually steel manning this argument, as it is typically asserted ad hoc, without any sort of justifications. However, even without refuting some of the logic used in the example, the data simply does not support that claim. In fact, Immigrants typically create more jobs than they take; see source [15]:
"Their analyses revealed that immigrants do start companies at higher levels than native-born Americans—and that this is true for both small companies and very large ones. This led the researchers to an intriguing conclusion. “Immigrants actually create more jobs than they take,” says Jones."
The article in the source quoted above actually talks about it a bit; generally speaking, immigrants become entrepreneurs at higher rates than average Americans, they are much more typically self-employed, and therefore actually create more jobs for Americans. Furthermore, the immigrants who don't start-up businesses are lower-skilled workers. This is primarily due to a language and cultural gap in immigrants, and are therefore willing to do jobs that native Americans aren't. in summary, not only are Immigrants not stealing jobs from Native borne Americans they are also filling in the worker gap briefly mentioned in my last contention [13]

  • "Immigrants use more benefits from the government than they ever give back" - The argument here is admittedly a little bit more complex than the one before it. Immigrants come here and (presumably-i.e-falsely) come in and take more jobs, while taking those jobs they only receive little income; however, as they typically have larger families they get huge incomes in benefits from the government, all while paying relatively low taxes due to their low-income wages. Again, I was giving the argument the benefit of the doubt here; moreso, the argument is not supported by the data; immigrants give back more to the economy than they take; [16]:
"Immigrants paid in 2014 an estimated $223.6 billion in federal taxes. This includes $123.7 billion in Social Security tax and $32.9 billion in Medicare tax. On the state and local level, immigrants paid $104.6 billion in taxes. The combined contribution of immigrants in 2014 was $328.2 billion in taxes. In California, immigrants pay 28 percent of the total taxes in the state."
To those who don't look at the numbers, immigrants are actually more and more people with college degrees; and typically earn more money - people with more money pay more taxes, which is one flaw in the misconception. That isn't all, take this into consideration; there are two people, person A and B. Person A is a native-born US citizen, and he graduates with a bachelor's degree, and gives back to the economy. Person B is an immigrant, also with a bachelor's degree, who moved here while he was, let's say, 20. The native-born is at a big disadvantage in terms of giving back to the economy, as they spent around 16 to 18 years, giving back nothing, while the state provided education, food, etc. 

Those are just some of the biggest misconceptions regarding immigrants struck down (while also establishing some arguments regarding the positive impact of immigration), now onto the meat and potatoes; [14]:
  • "Most empirical studies indicate long-term benefits for natives’ employment and wages from immigration, although some studies suggest that these gains come at the cost of short-term losses from lower wages and higher unemployment."
  • "Immigrants also bring a wave of talent and ingenuity, accounting for a disproportionate share of workers in the fields most closely tied with innovation. A 2011 survey of the top fifty venture capital funded companies found that half had at least one immigrant founder and three quarters had immigrants in top management or research positions"
  • "Immigrants in general — whether documented or undocumented — are net positive contributors to the federal budget. However, the fiscal impact varies widely at the state and local levels and is contingent on the characteristics of the immigrant population — age, education, and skill level — living within each state."
  • "Economists generally agree that the effects of immigration on the U.S. economy are broadly positive. Immigrants, whether high- or low-skilled, legal or illegal, are unlikely to replace native-born workers or reduce their wages over the long-term, though they may cause some short-term dislocations in labor markets. Indeed, the experience of the last few decades suggests that immigration may actually have significant long-term benefits for the native-born, pushing them into higher-paying occupations and raising the overall pace of innovation and productivity growth. "
Each claim given is sourced with multiple other sources, and this had the funding of a university behind it, a true powerhouse; going on trends and data alone I have enough evidence to end the contention here; however, in case all of this was unable to convince the Voter of the positives behind immigrants in the workforce, I will leave the contention with a basic syllogistic argument. Each premise will be sourced, to lead to a logically valid and sound conclusion - the entire point here, is that immigrants stimulate the economy which supports everyone in the U.S, that is a net positive for even more than just immigrants:

PREMISE: IF, immigrants increase competition for jobs for Native workers, THEN the economy is stimulated (b/c competition stimulates the economy [17])
PREMISEIF, immigrants don't increase competition for jobs, THEN all of the immigrants complement native-born workers (skilled w/ unskilled [15])
CONCLUSION: Therefore, regardless of immigrants effects on the job market regarding native-born workers, they will stimulate the economy 

The resolution: "The US Government ought to allow more immigrants into America" is true because; The founding principle of liberty is upheld by allowing refugees in, and we have more than enough excess funds to care for more than 15,000 refugees. and, immigrants provide an empirical net positive to the economy, and stimulating the economy will support all U.S citizens, a net positive. These contentions should show that it is obvious that immigrants being allowed into America at an increased rate will do nothing but help the U.S, and the U.S has a moral obligation not only to help it, citizens, through ethical stimulations of the economy, but of people seeking liberty. 

On to Con.

Round 2
RESOLUTION: TBHT: The US Government ought to increase the numbers of immigrants allowed into America

I am disappointed by my opponent's forfeiture, though not entirely dissuaded from the notion that this could make an interesting debate given the correct opponent. In an effort to at least try to receive a counter-argument from Con, I will not post another argument in this round. I hope that my opponent can make a showing in the second round, thank you Voters for keeping along.

  • Refugees seek LIberty and America ought to give them it - Extend 
  • Immigrants help the government take care of its population by stimulating the economy - Extend

Back to Con
Round 3
RESOLUTION: TBHT: The US Government ought to increase the numbers of immigrants allowed into America

I find the likelihood of Con's arrival very small, and even if it were to happen, they would have squandered a good deal of the debate in silence. I shall continue to only extend points in the, I now see useless, hope that Con will at least attempt to respond

  • Refugees seek LIberty and America ought to give them it - Extend 
  • Immigrants help the government take care of its population by stimulating the economy - Extend

Back to Con
Round 4
RESOLUTION: TBHT: The US Government ought to increase the numbers of immigrants allowed into America

  • Refugees seek LIberty and America ought to give them it - Extend 
  • Immigrants help the government take care of its population by stimulating the economy - Extend

America is a country with a turbulent history, and without the support of immigrants- building infrastructure, diversifying America- it surely would have been more turbulent. Immigrants are not harmful to America, or even bad for the economy - and based upon my arguments I've made here, more should be allowed into America.

Vote Pro