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The United States government should construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico Border

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realdon_762realdon_762 (CON)

I contend that The United States should construct a wall on the Southern Border with Mexico.

First, I will define “wall” as a physical barrier, typified by the wall prototypes recently constructed.

The construction of a wall on the Southern Border is in the best interest of the United States for the following reasons:

  1. Any nation has the right and responsibility to protect its people first. The United States, specifically, has a responsibility to prevent the crime, economic hardship, and other negative effects caused by illegal immigration. The preamble to the United States Constitution, the framework for the Federal Government, which lays out the responsibilities and powers of the same, states the following:

"We the people, 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"

Illegal immigration tends to contradict every single goal of the federal government listed in the Preamble. Specifically:

  • “In order to form a more perfect Union” Illegal immigration, people simply walking over our border with no connection or loyalty to our country (or even legal documentation), does not help the United States to form a more perfect union.

  • “Establish Justice” Illegal immigration is unjust to American citizens and also legal immigrants by allowing people who have violated our laws to obtain benefits reserved for citizens, and to, in many cases, commit crimes (including crossing the border) without punishment.

  • “Insure Domestic Tranquility” Illegal immigrants commit crime and harm the social fabric of our country due to the fact that they, to a large degree, do not speak the language nor subscribe to the principles of the United States.

  • “Promote the General Welfare” The General Welfare refers to the welfare of the United States and its citizens. Illegal immigrants cost America tens of billions of dollars per year, not to mention the other negative effects of illegal immigration which are obviously not conducive to the general welfare.

  • “Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity” Illegal immigrants, by and large, do not, as shown by polls, believe in “liberty” as defined by our founders. Overwhelmingly, they support wealth redistribution and socialism. The blessings of liberty are intended for the “posterity” of America’s founders, not the entire world, and certainly not those who violate the law by illegally crossing the border.

2. Since the United States has a responsibility to protect its citizens by stopping illegal immigration, which is detrimental to American citizens, the federal government should use any and all legal and moral means which are prudent and effective. A border wall would be effective at stopping a large portion of illegal traffic on the Southern Border, and thereby saving, in the long run, billions of taxpayer dollars, not to mention American lives.

Obviously, a wall would not be constructed in isolation. Border patrol agents would monitor the area to prevent tunneling and attempts to cross the wall with ladders. This debate should not be about the pros and cons of various types of wall, simply on the desirability of building a wall in general. The government has engineers talented enough to properly design a wall to make it reasonably effective against virtually all foot and vehicle traffic. Israel, Hungary, and numerous other countries constructed walls or fences on their border, virtually ending illegal crossings. As shown by examples from those countries, properly constructed walls are highly effective at preventing illegal entry.

However, let’s assume for the purposes of argument that the wall would only stop HALF of all illegal immigration. (More likely, it would exceed 95%)

The total annual cost of illegal immigration, when the taxes paid by illegal immigrants are factored in, is somewhere around $99 billion. A wall would cost around $25-30 billion. Therefore, the wall would pay for itself in less than a year even if it stopped half of illegal immigration.

Since the United States has a responsibility to its citizens to prevent illegal immigration, and a physical wall is an important and proven part of preventing illegal immigration, the United States should construct a physical wall on the Southern Border with Mexico.

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-09-14 00:46:48
| Speak Round
Euno1ad: Where did you get those statistics?
Euno1ad: Also, of course the United States has the right to "protect" themselves from illegal immigration. That doesen't mean they should do it.
realdon_762: Which statistics are you referring to? The statistic about the cost of illegal immigration is taken from a National Academies of Sciences study: https://www.nap.edu/read/23550/chapter/1#ix
realdon_762: The border wall cost is using a high estimate based on the department of Homeland Security's report: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immigration-wall-exclusive-idUSKBN15O2ZN
Euno1ad: Okay, thanks for the sources.
Euno1ad: Your argument is based on false premises. One: There is no outstanding evidence that illegal immigrants are in any way,on the whole, harmful to the United States. Second: As you said earlier, the taxes from illegal immigrants total to a few billion, leading to growth.
Euno1ad: Also, reading the Reuters artice you posted, I noticed they didn't take into account security cameras, property, jobs for border patrol, etc.
realdon_762: The Reuters article did take into account the cost of acquiring the property. It did not take into account those other factors which is why my estimate is somewhat higher. If anything, the wall would reduce the need for personnel on the border.
realdon_762: It is undisputed that illegal immigrants cost the US tens of billions of dollars, or more, per year. This is clear from the NAP report, and every other source. Many illegal immigrants do pay taxes, however, the net effect is still negative.

Return To Top
Euno1adEuno1ad (PRO)
I don't have much time to write this, as I haven't gotten a chance to draft.

Anyways, this will be unfinished so some things may be confusing.

(On “In order to form a more perfect union”) The first example of a logical fallacy. This premise has no evidence to support it. We can define a 'more perfect union' as one that has an ideal (or at least significant in comparison to all other countries) social, economic, and cultural status (If you don’t accept this definition, please give a few reasons why; I’d love to hear them). Illegal immigrants help increase the social status of the USA by becoming integrated parts of the community. They increase the economic value of the USA in a myriad of ways: for example, case one: They pay American taxes. This also justifies the "Establish Justice" clause of your argument. They do gain benefits, but at the cost of their hard-earned money, just like most other citizens (Trump being a prime example of someone who does NOT fit the criteria of a law-abiding taxpayer).

Case two: More than half of the hired farmers in the USA are illegal immigrants. Five percent of the US workforce are illegal immigrants. The GDP of the US is roughly 20 trillion dollars (19.39 trillion) (Source: WorldBank); divide by 20 (for five percent), and you get… one trillion dollars. That is an undeniable gain.

And now for cultural. Honestly, illegal immigrants can come from all over the world, including even Europe. Yes, we're not going to be stereotypical.

In conclusion, there is no logical explanation for adding a wall on the US - Mexican border. This is why I stand my case.

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-09-19 21:32:41
| Speak Round
realdon_762: Are illegal immigrants "living in the shadows", or are they "integrated parts of the community?" Which is it?
Euno1ad: That is a debate for another time. Although I do believe illegal immigrants are integrated enough into the economy for us to say they are part of the community.
realdon_762: You mentioned increase cost of border patrol as being part of the wall cost. Wouldn't building a wall reduce the need for border patrol in many areas?

Return To Top
realdon_762realdon_762 (CON)
I reaffirm the position that constructing the wall is in the best interest of the United States, and would first proceed to pointing out why my opponent's arguments have gaping logical holes: 

1. Illegal immigrants do pay some American taxes, however they do not pay anywhere close to the amount that legal workers would pay. They overwhelmingly do not pay federal income taxes, and most of the approximately $11 billion in taxes they pay goes to state and local governments. Further, the cost of healthcare alone for illegal immigrants totals $18 billion per year, meaning that there is actually a considerable net economic loss through taxes. (Forbes, 2/26/2018 - https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2018/02/26/how-american-citizens-finance-health-care-for-undocumented-immigrants/#64283b1212c4 ). The figures that I cited in the first round also took tax revenues into account, and still concluded that there is an overwhelming net loss to Americans as a result of illegal immigrants. 

2. My opponent is correct in stating that approximately half of farmworkers are illegal immigrants, however, removing all illegal immigrants (we aren't debating that by the way, only adding a wall to stop additional illegal immigration) would only result in, at a maximum, a 6 percent increase in the cost of fresh produce, and more likely around a 2 percent increase. (Iowa State University, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5131651_How_Much_is_That_Tomato_in_the_Window_Retail_Produce_Prices_Without_Illegal_Farmworkers). Further, my opponent butchers the data with their absurd $1 trillion figure for the total GDP boost from illegal immigration. Citing no sources, they simply divide the total US GDP by 5%, assuming that illegal immigrants are making the exact annual contribution to GDP, which is ridiculous. In fact, illegal immigrants are substantially poorer than the average American citizen, and the real total GDP from illegal immigration is more like $74 billion at the most, according to a September 2016 study. It is outrageous to argue that the US must tolerate blatant violations of our laws, increased crime, and cultural transformation to obtain a marginally higher (less than 1%) GDP. 

Also, only 37% of all illegal immigrants are employed. The rest must rely on welfare, subsidized by tax dollars (Yale University, September 2018) - around 22 million illegal immigrants. 

3. My opponent's cultural argument is nonsensical. Yes, illegal immigrants come from all over the world - however the majority of them do come from Latin America, and 63% of all Hispanic immigrants are functionally illiterate in English (Pew Hispanic Center, 2009, and Center for Immigration Studies.) 

Finally, my opponent has functionally conceded that building the wall would stop illegal immigration by not even trying to argue that the wall would be ineffective. Just to reiterate - walls historically have shut down illegal immigration - in Hungary, Israel, and many other countries. In Israel, illegal crossings decreased by 99% percent after their wall was built. (Politifact, January 2017 https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/feb/13/ron-johnson/border-fence-israel-cut-illegal-immigration-99-per/)

In conclusion, there is no logical explanation for allowing illegal immigration to proceed unabated. This is why I rest my case.

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-09-25 15:50:39
| Speak Round

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Definition: Wall: A continuous, physical barrier.

"Along the U.S.-Mexico border" excludes areas already impassible because of terrain or natural barriers.