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Author Topic: A Call to Immigration  (Read 2999 times)
Dismal Democrat
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« on: May 01, 2010, 10:53:07 PM »

The immigration topic, I feel, is the best choice for next year. Though, the masses may try running to another big foreign policy year (i.e. treaties), I think they've created a false choice between big foreign policy topics and small domestic topics, which immigration melds wonderfully. So here's the reasons immigration is for you:

1) Relevance, relevance, relevance -- the recent arizona immigration law debacle, travesty etc shows that the immigration debate is a dark underbelly of our nation's culture. The integral nature of immigration policy to how our nations function is not matched by almost any other topic, besides maybe education. Some people don't want to debate about issues that have little to no relevance to the direction of domestic policy. I know, I know but what about UNCLOS or the ICC. I'm sorry but open up a newspaper, look through US-based think tanks, and be honest, are those really the issues that are being discussed as integral to domestic makeup. (Cato and Rutherford institute fears of sovereignty destruction don't count) This is an issue that has been pushed aside for over twenty years, without any sort of large scale changes being made. The fact it has now been thrust back onto the scene means new policy papers, new books, new news articles. Now the more astute reader may read all these new events in immigration, as being something to worry about, such as big immigration getting done during the course of the year. This is naive. First and foremost, it took a year to get health care done, a policy that already had a core policy idea established by a large number of interest groups. Even if some bill does start to get debated November 3, the day after the election, there is little to no chance anything happens in that time. Second, the policy process in congress is a sausage grinder, even if something does get done, it will be far from a "purists" policy proposal that most affs and negs will be debating about.

2) Good synthesis of domestic and foreign policy debates -- immigration will provide vibrant discussions of domestic issues, immigration services tradeoff arguments, politics debates, nativism, plus a slew of alternative ways to solve for aff advantage areas. Furthermore, you can have your cake and eat it too if you want to ignore what's happening in the US and just talk about blowing things up elsewhere. Immigration signal arguments will be good launching points for both arguments on the aff and the neg. Flexibility is better than a rigid dynamic of US or no US.

3) Less mechanism debates -- ok this is less an immigration good, and more a treaties bad argument. But when a paper devotes almost an entire section to the riveting discussion of the process of a mechanism in the resolution, that does not sound like a good ole time to me. I understand the ole topic was a lot of fun for some, but I doubt once someone has their third, fourth...twentieth process debate they'll be singing the same tune. Plus, even if its not inevitable, its still a possibility. The immigration mechanism questions are far more standardized. Even if mechanism debates do occur under immigration, it would be less about technical procedure like the minutia of treaty ratification, and more about agency authority and discretion discussions, a much more vibrant and interesting area of research.



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kbowen
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2010, 04:12:43 PM »

Why we should choose immigration -
Or how I learned to stop worrying and love a domestic topic
 
1.      Advantage diversity: I think this is unfairly touted as an exclusive and overriding benefit to the treaties topic for two reasons. First,  Loosening restrictions on H1-Bs or asylum restrictions accesses broad, sophisticated advantage ground – competitiveness, the economy, leadership/soft power – while also allowing for year-long innovation in the form of specific sector and country-based advantages. I won’t go through each of the mechanisms, but I think that the authors of the topic paper provide compelling evidence that advantage diversity is a benefit to each proposed mechanism. I also think this advantage applies to negative argument innovation, given that these advantages could easily be PICs or topic specific disads. Second, it seems telling that some are already advising against including certain treaties (landmines is too good for the aff, BWC doesn't fit with any of the proposed wording). Do the individual treaties really provide advantage diversity and a US key warrant, while fitting within the proposed wordings? I feel like it would be sub-optimal to get to the topic wording process and realize that the treaties themselves are inadequate.  

2.      Clear and equitable division of aff and neg ground ACROSS mechanisms: reduce v. increase restrictions. Built in topic specific counterplan and aff impact turn strategies. Unlike the Ag topic where you were hard pressed to find a “subsidies good” card, people really do right qualified “reducing immigration restrictions bad” arguments. I think this resolves a major complaint with the treaties topic: the mechanism does not provide good ground, leading to a disparate topic where the same process CP is continually rehashed. I also think broad topic DAs are available – foreign relations and foreign politics DAs, immigration spillover and refugee leadership arguments, and economy and fiscal discipline DAs.

3.      Debate over mechanisms – the dismal democrat above rightly points out that instead of debates over generic process mechanisms, the immigration literature is stacked on how different mechanisms to reduce restrictions have divergent substantive and political implications. This facilitates more relevant debates over process.  

4.      Politics – there I said it. Sweet neg links to the midterms DA [duh], but the flipside is that there are equally nuanced link turn arguments for the aff. Particular types of reform engender favor with particular senators or constituencies. It seems like the reverse is true for treaties. There is no real constituency in favor of ratifying the Basel convention + the whole 67 votes thing. If the DA is START, which arguably solves the big impacts that makes the treaty topic so sweet, yikes…

5.      AT – Too timely

a.      Affs on the topic will pass AND neg uniqueness is screwed

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-hooper/politics-trumping-visa-re_b_555596.html

"The comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform bill sponsored by New
York Democrat Charles Schumer and South Carolina Republican Lindsey
Graham is supposed to address this issue, but legislators now say it
could be 2012 before any reform bill is passed, which means the U.S.
will continue to hemorrhage entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists.
Even if the legislation did pass, it would still take separate
resolutions to address laws in the Patriot Act that further complicate
visa issuance to talented foreign-born students and researchers."

b.      What about neg DA uniqueness?

Paraphrasing Malgor in the treaties topic thread, despite missile defense before GSU, release of the QDR, or leaks about the NPR, link uniqueness arguments have become more sophisticated – I don’t think arguments like, the GOP is backlashing over cuts now, really impacted negative strategies (much to my disappointment in about 50% of our debates). Again, I think the topic paper does a good job answering this argument: it’ll be a compromise bill, after the midterm, and more GOP means it won’t pass. The link I posted above confirms this position.
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