First thoughts: Immigration Topic

The topic for the 2018-2019 academic year was released in January, and now that all of our other debate programs are done for the semester, its time to sit down and digest the new topic.

The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration to the United States.

This topic is extremely timely as we head into a mid-term election where voters say that immigration policy is the most important issue on both sides of the aisle. President Trump's rhetoric about Muslims, Mexicans, and other immigrant communities makes immigration headline news most evenings.

For many WUDL students, this will be a profoundly personal topic, as many students are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants to the United States. Teaching how to speak about immigration and how to have civil discussions on potentially personal issues is a top priority for the league. As educators, adding a bit of civility back into the local policy dialogue is never a bad thing.

This resolution seems to encompass several areas:

  • Economic Based Visas (EBs, H-1Bs, H-2As, etc.)

  • Asylum and Refugees

  • Family Visas

  • Diversity Visas

Two main topicality challenges are:

  • Adjustment of Status versus actually crossing a border--does legalizing undocumented populations fall under the resolution?

  • Permanent versus Temporary--does the resolution include tourists, students, and any number of other temporary travelers or does it follow more strict definitions of immigrants that refers to permanent settlement?

Current events will shape a lot of the affirmative cases this year, such as ending the "Muslim Ban," restoring Temporary Protected Status or other pro refugee measures, preemptive expansions of the Diversity Lottery Program, and Abolish ICE, in addition to classic labor force adjustments.

Affirmative teams that put in the extra work and don't just look at the caps and quotas of the existing system but look at other restrictions on immigration will likely do very well this year,

Negative teams will dive into the politics and economics of immigration, look at an array of process counterplans and critical theory related to assimilation, identity, settlerism, and more.

Here's to another good year!

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