Instigator / Con

Resolved: The US should construct a wall on our Southerrn Border


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With 4 votes and 25 points ahead, the winner is ...

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Last update date
Time for argument
Three days
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Open voting
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Two weeks
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Four points
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Contender / Pro
~ 444 / 5,000

Round Structure:
I will waive the first round
Pro presents his constructive arguments
Con presents his constructive arguments
Pro responds
Con responds
Pro crystallizes
Con crystalizes
Pro waives this round
Do not violate the round structure please, and do not forfeit rounds. That would be tragic. I do not know if the other debate that I created (where I specified WOA as the contender) actually was created, so I am doing this just in case.

Round 1
While this debate was intended for WisdomofAges, I am not going to continually bother bsh1 by again asking him to take down this debate. 

Per the rules of the debate, (which you should always read, by the way,) my opponent goes first. 

Thus, I waive this round.

I apologize for accepting this debate despite the WoA rule, but I hope if you looked at my past debates, I'm more than qualified in my personal opinion. I appreciate the opportunity to debate you.

Ridding this country of illegal immigrants will save the entire nation loads of money.

From what I understand, there are lots of people coming over to this country and working for cheap wages. Whenever they get their money, they send it back to Mexico as they live on free benefits here. The United States spends over 20% of its annual budget on social security, and some large percentage of social security is being spent on undocumented immigrants. Unlike other examples that there is not much data to support the claims, we see proof of this all around us. We know of the existence of illegal immigrants in this country. I don't think I need to prove that to you, nor do I need to prove that we're spending social security money on them.

Ridding this country of illegal immigrants would bring down the unemployment rate.

If we got all illegal immigrants who are working for low wages out of our country, those places/businesses would be forced to spend a little more on their employees, therefore making more tax dollars for the government, and getting rid of some of the homeless. I believe it's also common sense that giving more people jobs correlates with less homeless people. I don't think I need to prove this to you. Thanks for debating me, I pass it to you!

Round 2
Sorry if I came off as a bit angry beforehand in my R1. There is no issue. I really should have directly challenged him.


When making policy decisions, lawmakers utilize a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether a bill should pass or fail. A cost-benefit analysis should be self-explanatory: we weigh the benefits of a plan and weigh them against the costs to decide the fate of the policy proposal. The reason that we do this is due to our belief that:
a)       The government’s primary job is to promote the general welfare (per the preamble of the Constitution (12)),
b)      We need to account for as many external effects as possible when analyzing a law so that people have their needs promoted should we choose to pass.
If Con's arguments outweigh those of Pro's in promoting the general welfare under a cost-benefit analysis, then the judges should feel comfortable with voting Con, and vice versa.

C1: Insolvency

Draconian border security policies do not typically mitigate illegal immigration. This is due to the multitudes of incentives and costs of crossing the border that prospective illegal immigrants are forced to weigh. The American Journal of Sociology in 2016 recounts how the US previously enacted a 5-fold increase in Border Patrol officers and a 20-fold increase in nominal funding toward border patrol agencies between the years 1986 and 2008. Much of this occurred because of fears of crime or terrorism slipping through lax border security. Despite the agencies receiving more resources; illegal immigration surged from 3 million illegal immigrants in 1986 to 12 million illegal immigrants in 2008 (1). The explanation behind this perplexing scenario is referred to as circular flow.

Circular flow describes the model of immigration that used to exist between Mexico and the US, in which illegal Mexican migrants would go into the US illegally to work, and then leave the US. The Population and Development Review in 2012 found that it was not until the late 60s when the Bracero program, which allowed temporary laborers to come in from Mexico, was abolished that we saw illegal immigration spike due to a lack of available visas for Mexicans who desired to work in the US (2). We only had 20,000 available visas by 1968 after the program was phased out, which meant that Mexicans who wanted to work in the US had to do so illegally since there was no legal pathway for work. From 1965, when the Bracero program started to phase out, to 1970, illegal immigration quadrupled (2).
This circular path that illegal immigrants took was cut off by a buildup of border security by multiple administrations who were worried about the permeability of the Southern border. Illegal immigrants already earning money in the US did not dare leave because the increased physical and monetary risks to get to the US by circumventing border security meant that they had to make their trip last to recoup the resources spent (i.e. paid smugglers called “coyotes” which aided illegal immigrants seeking to enter the US, the physical cost of exhaustion from passing through less traditional, more dangerous routes to the US, and exhaustion experienced by illegal immigrants.)

However, newer illegal immigrants were not deterred by the increase in physical and monetary costs that accumulated when there were methods to overcome them. For instance, the use of paid guides to circumvent border security to get into the US, or “coyotes,” increased from 70% usage in the early 70s, to virtually 100% in 2010 according to the same American Journal of Sociology study (1). Also, illegal immigrants took hazardous routes through places such as the Sonoran Desert, increasing the death rate of illegal immigrants substantially as the years passed.

A key component of any argument is solvency, or the degree to which a plan will work to fix a problem. If the borders are to be secure, then simply creating a giant wall will not stop illegal immigration no matter how inordinate the price is to cross. Mexican people vying to cross the border see the economic progress in the US compared to the destitution that their family lives in. The Borgen Project estimates that in 2014, 55 million Mexican people lived below the poverty line, or over 20% of the population (9). Annual wage and job growth cannot serve the entire population. This is the reason that illegal immigrants want into the US. If they cannot cross the border, many opt to simply legally enter via airplane, and simply overstay their visa so they can make enough money to send back to their families. The Associated Press reports that visa overstays reached 700,000 in 2017 alone (10). Even with surges in border crossings, in 2018, only about 400,000 occurred according to the Pew Research Center (11).

C2: Mexican Cartels Reap More Profit

As I have already mentioned, illegal immigrants are circumventing border security policies to venture into the US using coyotes and hazardous routes. Moreover, illegal immigrants already in the US when border security was implemented stayed within the country as opposed to returning home to Mexico. These issues are exacerbated because of the wall. Remember, coyotes profit off border security as they charge money to pass said border security unnoticed. Because it has become such a needed service for illegal immigrants seeking refuge in the US, the prices they charge have increased over time. The American Journal of Sociology noted that coyotes are virtually always successful and have been swelling their prices. In a span of 10 years (from 2000 to 2010) the price of one trip increased from $1,900 for a border crossing from a coyote, $2,700 in constant 2013 dollars (1). Because we add another layer of border security, this price will rise, allowing for more profit for coyotes. These coyotes are frequently people in Mexican drug cartels that seek a cut of their profits, leaving the coyotes with a lucrative deal, while also supplying the needed cash to fund operations. For instance, the Gulf Cartel generated $50 million in 6 months according to Dallas News in 2014, keeping the group alive during an internal split (4). Battles for control over areas within Mexico between these cartels has led to increasing bloodshed. BBC Mundo (you might need to translate this page if you are using Chrome,) shows that in 2010, the Mexican government’s recognized that the war between the Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel exceeded 1,200 causalities (5). Forbes furthers this, explaining that 15% of companies, including over 30 of our own, shut down operations in Mexico because of the ensuing chaos stemming from cartel wars (6).

Furthermore, when cartels earn more money, they can use their profits to fund the creation of more synthetic drugs and opioids which are killing US citizens en masse. The Annenberg Public Policy Center reports that in 2016, over 8,000 pounds of meth, and over 8,000 pounds of heroin, was caught being smuggled into the US (7). Not only can we expect more synthesized drugs to be illegally smuggled over the border, we can also expect that better-funded cartels will be able to better cover up their illegal operations through bribes. Over the past decade, according to the New York Times in 2016, over $15 million worth of bribes ended up in the pockets of over 200 border patrol employees to our knowledge (13).
By making border security harsher, we present a lucrative deal for coyotes who can circumvent the wall by directing people through harsher routes. All the while, we see no substantial decrease in illegal immigration due to the reliance on coyotes that guarantee passage into the US. This connection is drawn by Quartz in 2017. Not only did the price that coyotes charge increase, (reaching highs of $10,000 per 1 crossing,) but they used the Trump wall policy to justify their price gouging.

Adam Isacson, immigration expert at the Washington Office on Latin America, explained that coyotes were presenting the message:

“Get here before he builds his wall (8).”

This is not to suggest that bolstering border security has no impact on prices, and that only the perception of heightened security matters. As the Quartz article mentions:

“Data from the Mexican Migration Project managed by Princeton University and the University of Guadalajara, which has been surveying Mexican immigrants for decades, show prices have generally tracked Border Patrol spending (8).”
By building the wall, people are put in danger in both the US and Mexico though increased violence, drug addiction, and economic harm.


Round 3
Round 4