Instigator
Points: 14

Should Trump’s Wall Be Built Along The American-Mexican Border?

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 2 votes the winner is ...
It's a tie!
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Politics
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Contender
Points: 14
Description
No information
Round 1
Published:
I will name 5 reasons (premises) why the border wall is bad for the U. S. Just to clarify, this is not border walls in general, but specifically, the border wall that the President is advocating for. The reasons are as follows:

  1. It will not stop drug trafficking.
  2. It will not stop illegal immigration.
  3. It promotes xenophobia.
  4. It wastes an enormous amount of money.
  5. It wastes time and labor.

Premise 1

Experts have shown that the majority of drugs are not coming across the border, But across legal ports of entry. 

"According to U. S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, 90 percent of heroin seized along the border, 88 percent of cocaine, 87 percent of methamphetamine, And 80 percent of fentanyl in the first 11 months of the 2018 fiscal year was caught trying to be smuggled in at legal crossing points. " [1]

Besides this, Drug smugglers themselves have admitted the same facts:

". . . Intelligence received from arrested smugglers and law enforcement partners in Mexico indicate that cartels clearly prefer moving high-profit narcotics through the busy ports of entry because their chances of success are better there. . . the sheer volume of traffic means smugglers' odds are still better going through there than other parts of the border. . . Vice President Mike Pence was the first to acknowledge in an op-ed column published in USA TODAY on Tuesday that those drugs "primarily" enter the country through ports of entry. . . Several of [El Chapo's] cartel members have testified that they mostly pushed drugs through U. S. Ports of entry. . . None. . . Testified that they moved drugs through the open border regions in between those ports." [1]

Clearly, The border wall will not be able to stop drug trafficking. 

Premise 2

Ways to get into the U. S. When a border wall is present:

Through:

"One storm in Texas left a hole for months. Fences and walls can also erode near rivers or beaches, As the one in San Diego did. And they can be penetrated: Some fencing can be cut in minutes, And the Border Patrol reported repairing more than 4, 000 holes in one year alone. " [2]

Over:

"Much of the current fencing can be easily mounted with a ladder or from the roof of a truck. In some cases, Border crossers can scale the fence without any additional equipment. One viral video from 2010 shows two women easily climbing an 18-foot steel bollard-style pedestrian fence in less than 20 seconds. Smugglers can even drive over the fence using ramps. . . " [2]

Under:

"Tunnels are typically used more for drug smuggling, But they still create a significant vulnerability in any kind of physical barrier. From 2007 to 2010, The Border Patrol found more than one tunnel per month, On average. “For every tunnel we find, We feel they’re building another one somewhere". . A wall would likely increase the rewards for successful tunneling as other modes of transit grow more expensive. " [2]

Through Gaps:

"Border Patrol agents have told Fox News that a border wall would still “have to allow water to pass through, Or the sheer force of raging water could damage its integrity. . . In 2011, For example, A flood in Arizona washed away 40 feet of steel fence. " [2]

Clearly, A border wall can do nothing to stop a determined immigrant. 

Premise 3:

If a border wall goes up, Our children will learn about it. They will grow up being told that "we have to keep the bad people out." This will only serve to increase xenophobia, which incorrectly criminalizes innocent people. 

Premise 4

As I have already shown, The border wall will accomplish none of the goals for which it was built. It is a waste of billions of dollars, Which can go to sectors such as:

  • Welfare
  • Public services (libraries, Fire departments, Etc. )
  • Public transportation
  • Fixing public buildings and streets
  • Reducing the national debt
  • Public education

Premise 5

How long will it take to build the border wall? 

"One expert. . . Recently estimated that it could take 11 years for 10, 000 workers to build 1, 000 miles of steel border barrier, A length Trump had called for on numerous occasions during the campaign. " [3]

So not only does this waste money, But it wastes the labor equivalent to 10, 000 workers who work for 11 years on a wall that I have proven will not accomplish its job. 


To conclude, the border wall should not be built. 

Over to you!

Sources:

Published:
Donald Trump's wall has been a suggested solution for curbing illegal immigration into the US. While being heavily opinionated upon partisan lines and accordingly criticised, I will attempt to show that the wall is a good idea and hence should be built.


1. Illegal immigrants negatively impact the United States and its inhabitants

Within this past decade, there has been an estimated average of around 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States. [1] These illegal immigrants take part in the usage of taxpayer funded resources such as medical care and public education, with many experts estimating the ultimate cost for these resources to be at least several billions. One such estimation is calculated to be at least 116 billion per year. [2] Needless to say, the usage of these taxpayer resources places unfair burden on these systems which should be used for the benefit of actual citizens.


2. Walls are an effective deterrent to land-based crossers

Barriers have historically been an effective deterrent against foreign invaders, and this applies to contemporary times as well. There have been multiple modern cases where walls have been erected and have effectively restricted passage across particular sections of land. For example, after construction of the wall in Yuma, Arizona in 2005, there there 138,438 apprehensions of illegal immigrants compared to 26,244 the previous year. [3] Internationally, the wall constructed in Israel has dramatically helped curbed illegal migrants after its construction, with there being about 9500 illegal migrants before, to about 36, 11 and 0 in 2013, 2016 and 2017 respectively. [4] There is little doubt that walls are effective in preventing land-based crossings and a border wall across the United States-Mexico is unlikely to be an exception.


Clearly, if illegal immigrants negatively impact the United States and its inhabitants, and a wall is a valid solution, the only conclusion can be that a wall should be built.



Round 2
Published:
My opponent's main argument is that a wall is effective and that it will stop illegal immigration. He cites the wall in Yuma, Arizona, and Israel as proof of the effectiveness of walls. Firstly, the wall in Yuma was shown not to have done this alone. 

"These projects did not lead to significant declines in border crossings, according to the data. Monthly border apprehensions in both El Centro and El Paso increased from November 2017 to November 2018 the first month after replacement projects were completed." [1]

This is the main reason why arrests went up. The wall helped in some minor way, but it was not the determining factor, or even close to being it.

As to Israel, the officials there themselves said something similar. "And some Israeli policymakers attribute the relative peace in the West Bank compared to Gaza—despite both having walls—at least in part to the West Bank's continued economic growth." [1]

A huge part or both walls is how small they are. The Israeli border is only 150 miles long [2], while the Yuma border wall is only about 32 miles long. [1] The US border is over 1,000 miles long. [1] Sources show that, in the small capacity that walls do work, it is only because of major surveillance and/or guarding along the border. Guarding much smaller borders was hard enough; how much harder will guarding a 4-figure mile long border be?

Besides this, my opponent completely ignored the evidence I showed about how a border wall can be breached. He also ignored all of the disadvantages of the wall that I gave.

Over to you!

Sources:

Published:
My opponent has argued against the wall with five points. However, I note that the five points may be essentially boiled down to three and will attempt to rebute them in such a manner


Premise 1 & premise 2: It will not stop drug trafficking and it will not stop illegal immigration.

I have condensed these two points into one argument because they essentially are both arguments that the wall is meaningless as it would not achieve anything if built. I have already made arguments addressing the efficacy of border walls, so I will proceed to negate the arguments made


Firstly, my opponent suggests that the border wall will not stop drug trafficking.

While understandably this is a common talking point, on its own it does not sufficiently negate the necessity of a border wall. Clearly, if a wall were completely ineffective at preventing drug trafficking and yet were effective at preventing illegal immigrants or vise-versa, it can be reasonably argued that the wall should still be built for one or the other.


Secondly, my opponent suggests that the border wall will not stop illegal immigration because it can be breached. He does this by providing examples of how walls and fences can be breached. 

However these examples are insufficient to express the inadequacy of walls. This is for several reasons

1. Some of the examples just aren't applicable. Trumps wall is just that, a wall and not a fence with wires to cut through as was given as an example. To suggest otherwise is a mischaracterization of the structure that Trump has proposed, which in it's ideal form has been asserted to be solid concrete.

2. Some of these examples have been cherry-picked to established a less than favourable view of walls. For example, how often do floods and storms occur with such strength to penetrate concrete walls and leave holes which are then subsequently left unrepaired for months? My opponent has insinuated that such events occur frequently enough to render a concrete wall useless, and I would certainly be delighted if he could provide evidence for this.

3. Most of these examples are contingent on poor design. For example my opponent suggests tunnels are an effective method of bypassing the wall. However this may be negated by extended the wall sufficiently below ground level. Equally, a ladder may be negated in most cases by building the wall sufficiently high enough. If a structure does not sufficiently meet requirements, it is pertinent to modify the structure so that it does. Not, as my opponents suggests, to ignore the flaws and build it regardless.

4. My opponent has expressed that because of these examples, a wall cannot stop a determined immigrant. However this does not address the walls overall impact on illegal immigration and hence achieving its purpose.


Premise 3: It promotes xenophobia

My opponent make the claim that by putting up a wall, the children will learn about it and grow up being told that "we have to keep the bad people out". This in turn will increase xenophobia in your future children.

This line of logic is erroneous for several reasons

1. It is not inherently xenophobic to block foreign invaders from entering your country, which illegal immigration essentially is
2. Migrants are welcomed to the United States through legal channels regardless of whether a wall is put up or not
3. Children are a product of their upbringing. Xenophobia cannot be taught by an inanimate object, only by their experiences growing up. Unless my opponent is also arguing that placing up a wall simultaneously decreases parenting skills nationwide, future generations are unlikely to become more xenophobic just from the building of the wall
4. The argument is entirely prophetic in nature with little basis in evidence and cannot be reasonably asserted to be a likely outcome to any degree of accuracy


Premise 4 & premise 5: It wastes an enormous amount of money and it wastes time and labor

I have lumped these two premises together as they are both centered around the idea that the wall will not perform the desired functions, and hence will be a waste of money, time and labour. I note that these arguments presuppose and focus on the complete impotence of the wall without addressing these factors in the context of at the very least a minimally functioning wall, hence the word "waste" over comparative phrases such as "not worth" or "too high". As such, it is sufficient to simply argue that the wall will achieve desired functionality to negate these premises. Since I have already made such an argument, I will leave these two premises as they are.

Round 3
Published:
Drug Trafficking

My opponent does not respond to my argument on drug trafficking except to state that it alone is not a reason to stop the border wall. Because of this, I think this shows that he agrees that the border wall doesn’t stop drugs or he would have responded to my arguments.

Illegal Immigration
1. Some of the examples just aren't applicable. Trumps wall is just that, a wall and not a fence with wires to cut through as was given as an example. To suggest otherwise is a mischaracterization of the structure that Trump has proposed, which in it's ideal form has been asserted to be solid concrete.
That isn’t true. The government did a full test of many different prototypes and not all were concrete. Every single one of the walls was found that it could be broken. [1]
2. Some of these examples have been cherry-picked to established a less than favourable view of walls. For example, how often do floods and storms occur with such strength to penetrate concrete walls and leave holes which are then subsequently left unrepaired for months? My opponent has insinuated that such events occur frequently enough to render a concrete wall useless, and I would certainly be delighted if he could provide evidence for this.
My opponent straw-manned my argument. I did not say that the wall shouldn’t be built because it is frequently flooded. I said that it will have gaps (where rivers and other natural elements are) that immigrants can go through. My opponent ignored this.

As to holes created, it happened twice in one week in Arizona. That’s pretty frequent. [4] In the same area, it is said that it floods regularly and that the wall becomes a dam for the water, but as more water builds up, it gets more force and more strain is put on the wall. [5]
3. Most of these examples are contingent on poor design. For example my opponent suggests tunnels are an effective method of bypassing the wall. However this may be negated by extended the wall sufficiently below ground level. Equally, a ladder may be negated in most cases by building the wall sufficiently high enough. If a structure does not sufficiently meet requirements, it is pertinent to modify the structure so that it does. Not, as my opponents suggests, to ignore the flaws and build it regardless.
The tests that the government tested extended a minimum of 6 feet under ground. However, there have been over 50 tunnels found along San Diego, which has one of the most fortified walls along the border, one being 90 feet underground. [1] Remember, we’re arguing about TRUMP’S wall, not some theoretical untested wall that my opponent makes out of thin air. The wall that estimates have been given for is the one with a 10 feet tunnel guard, and the price comes in at over $30 billion. The problem is that immigrants will just dig under it, like the 90 foot tunnel.

As to the ladder argument, tests show that the higher the wall is, the more prone it is to falling. [1] The estimates that I just talked about are only for 30 foot walls.

4. My opponent has expressed that because of these examples, a wall cannot stop a determined immigrant. However this does not address the walls overall impact on illegal immigration and hence achieving its purpose.
Yes, it does. 

Xenophobia

Allow me to clarify. Trump has frequently been cited as building the wall because Mexicans are animals [2], drug dealers, criminals, and rapists. That is quite obviously xenophobic. And in case you want to use the defense that he said “and some, I assume, are good people,” that statement obviously concludes that the rest of Mexicans aren’t good people. He said some are good people, not most and not a majority.

It Wastes Money And Time

Since I’ve shown that the border wall completely fails to complete its job, these premises still apply.

Sources:


Published:
My opponent claims that the wall in Yuma was not shown to have stopped illegal immigration alone. My opponent uses this quote to support his claim

"These projects did not lead to significant declines in border crossings, according to the data. Monthly border apprehensions in both El Centro and El Paso increased from November 2017 to November 2018 the first month after replacement projects were completed."
However that this quote specifically mentions the replacement of walls, not the construction of new walls entirely. It is reasonable to assume that a wall before being replaced by another wall achieves much of the same purpose as the new wall. And hence similar results of border crossings.

Also note that this quote does not reference Yuma specifically. It references the replacement of already existing walls in El Centro and El Paso. In fact, the article, while mentioning Yuma, only does so in reference to a replacement wall project that has barely even started. [1] To conclude the efficacy of a replacement wall, without even considering the fact that it is a replacement project and not a new build, without having the replacement project even be completed yet is patently absurd.

Finally, while my opponent has claimed that the wall only helped in some minor way, with there being separate determining factors apart from the wall, he has not stated what these factors are or how they supersede the usefulness of the actual physical barrier of the wall.


In the case of the Israel wall, my opponent provides this quote

And some Israeli policymakers attribute the relative peace in the West Bank compared to Gaza—despite both having walls—at least in part to the West Bank's continued economic growth.
However this quote does not support or support a claim against wall efficacy. The peace the quote is referencing is not illegal immigration, but protests by the neighbouring Palestinians against the respective border walls. [2] I can only assume my opponent has conceded that the Israel border wall is an example of border wall efficacy


My opponent finally claims that

1. The US border wall will be longer than either of the examples I provided
2. Walls only work because of major surveillance and/or guarding along the border
3. Guarding a larger wall will be more difficult than guarding a smaller wall

Firstly, my opponents second claim is a distortion of what his sources note. His sources do not state that walls are only effective with major surveillance and/or guarding. There is a stark difference between travelling unhindered and being hindered by barriers. Were I to surround my opponent's house in walling he would have an immeasurably more difficult time leaving his house than if I were to not surround his house in walling.

As my opponent's source notes,

"No matter their original purpose, some basic principles behind walls remain timeless. Walls do work, at least for a time. There is a reason, after all, why states across the centuries have turned to walls as solutions to strategic quagmires. " [3]

Secondly, difficulty is not an argument in itself against the completion of a task or goal without weighing the difficulty in relation to the end goal and success. For example, developing cures for cancers can be considered to be quite difficult and yet many would consider such researches to be a worthwhile endeavors despite the difficulties. In this case, the end goals are the reduction of the presence of illegal aliens within the country and the fortification of national borders. Apart from this, there have been many cases where walls have been successful such as the examples I previously made. Hence, difficulty is not an argument as to whether a wall should be built.


Added:
--> @Our_Boat_is_Right
Would you be willing to hold native born Americans to the same standards? Meaning if they aren't productive to society, they would get deported? What if unemployment benefits/welfare was removed for everybody? Then illegal immigrants aren't munching off of the system because no one would be.
#15
Added:
--> @Alec
No, because they also have to show why they are here and how they will help economically, you get so many people who will not help.
#14
Added:
--> @Our_Boat_is_Right
Should we accept any peaceful person that knows enough English into the country? If they don't, should they get assimilated in classes they pay for?
#13
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
That depends. A large percentage of illegals don't have a lot of experience, don't speak English, or don't have the necessary requirements to be in the U.S. I believe that immigration helps the economy, but legally. We have to control and know what people are in our country and make sure they would contribute to society. Since the legal immigration process is slow, I believe in a comprehensive reform to speed it up a little and perhaps accept some more people.
#12
Added:
--> @Alec
Read something wrong. My bad.
#11
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
Blamonkey doesn't have that many debates to his name. If he did, he probably would be #1. When did I say that? I already debated him once.
#10
Added:
--> @Alec
Why can't blamonkey finally take his spot as the best?
You did say you were going to debate him.
#9
Added:
Why can't all the illegal Hispanics just go to Spain?
#8
Added:
--> @Speedrace
You should have focused on what the economy does on immigration. The argument for immigration is better than against based on economy.
#7
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
I was slow to pick up on that, too. Once I did some debates made much more sense.
#6
Added:
--> @oromagi
Oh. I didn't know that was the case.
#5
Added:
--> @dustryder
First time I heard you take a right wing stance on an issue.
#4
Added:
--> @Speedrace
As opposed to the Canadian-American border?
#3
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
Speedrace is bordered in red- therefore con.
#2
Added:
--> @Speedrace
Are you pro?
#1
#2
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
So this debate is basically that one side claims that the wall doesn’t fix the problems it was intended to fix, thus the money is better spent elsewhere - whilst the other argues it does fix the problems it is intended to fix.
The problems mostly boil down to efficacy - if the wall is shown to be effective, then pro wins, if not - con wins. As con has dropped pros argument that illegal immigration is massively detrimental - that appears to be clearly the case.
Firstly, both sides agree that there’ll be no improvement in drug trafficking.
The main issue of efficacy is that con points out substantial issues with walls - that they can be dug under, climbed over, broken through - and pointed out that it requires holds and gaps for natural geographical features - like water.
Pro argues that walls work - citing the Israeli wall and the wall at Yuma.
In pros main response, he argues that the problems described, such as potential damage, crawling under, etc - isn’t necessarily a problem with the structure proposed (points 1+3). However pro doesn’t actually state what has been proposed.
Pro argues that damage and holes that aren’t repaired for months are not necessarily rare, and that con should provide evidence these would be a common occurrence.
Con goes on to point out examples of damage, points out that the prototype examples have all been breached, and undermines pros points of the wall.
Con also undermines - somewhat the fence and Yuma and Israeli walls - by claiming one wasn’t effective and the other was only effective due to large amounts of surveillance.
As for xenophobia - I am not considering this as I don’t feel it’s topical. While Trump maybe xenophobic, and some supporters may want a wall for xenophobic reasons - I side with pro that the wall isn’t in and of itself xenophobic.
My takeaways here is that pro did a lot of burden of proof arguments - claiming that he needs to prove a number of claims.
At some point one side needs to show their position is correct.
The competing issues for me, are that pro gives two examples of walls which “work”, though does not quantify how well, how much, and what the overall benefit is - though gives some arbitrary numbers quantifying the size of the problem.
On the flip side, con gives me some good reason to believe that the efficacy of the wall will be greatly reduced, and did better in quantifying the cost - and defending the efficacy problems - tunnelling was particularly well defended.
I read this about 4 times, now, and have come down on a different side each time I’ve read.
I’m really left with not knowing how well the wall on the southern border would work, not knowing how much of an impact it would therefore have, and whether - in the grand scheme of things - that money and time spent would be worthwhile compared to some other plan.
As a result - I am forced to award this as a tie.
#1
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Kiss my goddamn ass.