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Author Topic: Immigration topic questions  (Read 5966 times)
kelly young
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« on: May 07, 2010, 09:48:24 PM »

Hey,

I just have a couple of small questions about the immigration paper. If any of the paper authors have the time to answer, I'd appreciate it.

Concerning the H-2B Visa section of the paper, I am curious how these affs would even be topical under a “reduce restrictions” mechanism? Maybe I missed something, but I’m unsure how increasing regulations on this labor is a reduction of restrictions?

Do any of the topic paper authors have an opinion on the relevance of the overlap between the hs social services and the social services section of the paper? Is there a lot of overlap? Does it matter? Is there a way through topic wording that we could minimize this overlap yet keep some of this discussion?

Thanks,
Kelly
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juzman
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2010, 12:42:09 PM »

Sorry about the confusion. You're right, the Affirmative under the H-2B section would not be topical under the reduce restrictions mechanism. That's my mistake.

Jacob
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2010, 08:38:26 AM »

Happy Mother's Day all.

Kelly, it depends on definitions of “social services” and “reduce restrictions.”  In most cases, simply providing social services would be distinct from policies that remove obstacles from admission and entrance status.  The answer also depends a lot on the wording of the immigration topic beyond just the stem.  If the stem requires exclusive direction and focus on immigration/immigrants, than broader service actions would be, at best, extra topical.  Also, don’t forget that the explicit focus on people “living in poverty” from the high school topic contextualized the meaning of services.  A reduction in restrictions may also require codification of standards for entrance and some form of legal advocacy…yes, certain legal services could be both “social services” and part of a reduction in restrictions, but nothing that would import the entire topic.  I have not consulted with the immigration group on this, but I would think that part of the negative options from the services topic might apply, but in more of a generic sense than anything else.  The negative would probably win most of the topicality debates against a services aff with peripheral effect on immigration.  Moreover, there is a solvency, link, and topicality debate to be had here—all three members of the most nutritious debate food groups.

Overall, do not be too worried about applications to previous topics and too willing to assume what those topics were or were not about.  Second, although this may not meet your standard for a “hawt sauce” T argument   Smiley, topicality is important and can greatly assist the content and skills involved in debate.  Malgor has been outstanding on this in other posts.  All topicality debates are not desirable or good, but some topicality is crucial and, depending on the term of art in question, can be central to understanding a dispute or controversy area. 

With that in mind, “social service” is too broad to be a limiter:

29 Code of Federal Regulations Sec. 2.31 (2004).

The term social service program means a program that is administered or supported by the Federal Government, or by a State or local government using Federal financial assistance, and that provides services directed at reducing poverty, improving opportunities for low-income children, revitalizing low-income communities, empowering low-income families and low-income individuals to become self-sufficient, or otherwise helping people in need.

Services are either after the immigration process or part of an employment debate that will depend on the resolution wording.

Mead, Lawrence M. Lifting Up The Poor. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institute Press, 2003.

   The third antipoverty approach is the one that now dominates national and state policy—requiring adult recipients to work in return for aid. This policy goes back to 1967, when Congress attached the first mandatory work programs to AFDC. Recipients judged to be employable were in theory required to participate in the programs as a condition of eligibility for benefits. The requirements were progressively tightened in later years, although they still affected only a minority of welfare mothers.
The Family Support Act of 1988 made more recipients subject to the requirements but allowed most participants to pursue education or training for better jobs rather than working immediately in low-paid positions. When PRWORA transformed AFDC into TANF in 1996, the rules were stiffened further. States were told to have half of their cases engaged in work activities by 2002 or face cuts in their federal welfare funding. Interim participation targets were set to achieve that goal. The activities that counted as work now favored actual employment and excluded most education and training.
   The political rationale for work enforcement was suggested above. The public rejects entitlement for the employable, but it also opposes forcing people to work simply by cutting back aid. The voters want families to be aided generously—provided that the parents work alongside the taxpayers.104 The only way to square this circle is to enforce work in and through welfare itself.
   The policy rationale was that mandatory work programs in AFDC were proven to be effective in evaluations of programs from the 1980s and early 1990s. That is, the programs recorded meaningful gains in employment and earnings and reductions in dependency for their clients compared with comparable recipients who were not subject to the requirements. Programs that explicitly demanded work achieved noticeably more than work incentives, which allowed recipients to keep more of their welfare benefits if they worked. Voluntary work and training programs showed weaker effects, probably because they could not command the same effort from their clients. By the late 1980s, most experts believed that welfare work programs were worth expanding. That expansion occurred initially in the Family Support Act (FSA) in 1988 and then, much more sharply, in PRWORA.105
   Later evaluations made clear that, to maximize their effects, work programs had to enforce participation stringently and expect recipients to take available jobs, even if low paid. Education or training should be allowed only for a short period and only if it focused on actual jobs. Sending recipients to school or to college for long periods generally was not a good investment. Hence TANF’s insistence in most cases on actual work instead of education.106 That insistence amounts to saying that work must be treated first and foremost as an obligation and not as an opportunity or a right.
   To date, serious work requirements exist only in TANF. However, weaker requirements exist in food stamps, and localities have instituted work tests in local aid programs that they control. In addition, the success of welfare-work programs has promoted the spread of the idea of reciprocity to other areas of social policy. Some states have required that welfare parents not only work but get their children vaccinated or keep them in school—what is known as “learnfare”—as a condition of aid. Some also are trying to require the absent fathers of welfare families either to make their child support payments or to participate in work programs, on pain of going to prison.


--Despite most social services being about public assistance, the line can blur into private support (opening up potential counterplan ground and another important debate).

Abramovitz, Mimi and Joel Blau. “Definitions of Social Welfare Policy.” Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.  [Mimi Abramovitz is a Professor of Social Policy at the Hunter College School of Social Work, New York. She specializes in U.S. welfare policy, theories of welfare and social justice, and activism amongst poor women. Joel Blau is a Professor of Social Policy and Director of the PhD Program at the School of Social Welfare, Stony Brook University. Both are prolific authors on social welfare policy.]

The definition of social welfare policy covers policies and programs that operate in the public sector, that is, those carried out by federal, state, and local governments. However, many social workers are employed in the private sec- tor, which includes both not-for-profit human service agencies (voluntary agencies) and for-profit programs (proprietary agencies). The line between public and private social welfare programs has always been somewhat blurred, largely because public dollars have regularly been used to fund the delivery of human services by private sector agencies, first the nonprofits and then the for-profits. Today, many large and small private agencies rely heavily on government contracts and/or reimbursement for services provided to clients.

The majority of overlap will occur in the area of “legal services”—also a good debate (and child welfare plays a role as well):

Abramovitz, Mimi and Joel Blau. “Definitions of Social Welfare Policy.” Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Created during the War on Poverty in the 1960s, legal services assists the poor with rent disputes, contracts, welfare rules, minor police actions, housing regulations, and more—but not criminal cases.66 Established in 1974, the Legal Service Corporation (LSC) is financed with federal tax dollars and some private monies. Under political pressure from conservatives, congressional au- thorization for the LSC expired in 1980, but Congress has funded it annually since then.
In addition to helping individuals, legal service lawyers seek policy change by bringing suits against city welfare departments, housing authorities, public health agencies, and other governmental bodies. However, since the late 1970s, Congress has limited the role of legal service funds in lobbying, class action suits, political activity, cases involving nontherapeutic abortions, un- documented immigrants, and school desegregation. Due to funding cutbacks, legal services has about three hundred offices around the country, down from five hundred.



Great query and thanks for the input.  This could be one of the best topic areas and best wordings we have ever had.  It is contemporary and it matters on a huge number of levels. 

To quickly address the “this is too current,” we should run TOWARD the contemporary policy debates that matter and will shift through legislation, NOT away from them.  There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY—NO WAY AT ALL—that a piece of immigration legislation over the next year would render debates impossible.  Even if legislation does pass, it will only supercharge the quality of affs, negs, and the evidence behind them.  Here are some additional specifics on that question from the immigration group:

Bi-directional legislation is somewhat likely, but less so during the next year.  This possibility aside, the passage of immigration legislation during the topic would be productive for debate, not something to shy away from--the debates would be more in-depth and more meaningful with all the evidence that would be generated on both sides of the debate.

This would deepen the debate by shifting up the threshold for unique links and shifting up the threshold for affirmative solvency (and maybe topicality).  A well-worded resolution would benefit from bi-directional legislation because it would allow us to focus the debate on which direction is better and if they work as well in tandem--very rich counterplan ground as well.



Thanks for reading,

Kevin


Dr. Kevin D. Kuswa
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Director of Debate, University of Richmond
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kelly young
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2010, 09:49:43 AM »

Thanks Kevin,

Yes, I didn't mean my post to suggest that immigration is a bad area because there might be some overlap, but your topic paper has a section on "social services" that didn't seem very developed. I wondered if it was even worth including "social services" into the resolutional wording, as that section suggested.

For instance, a potential wording listed in the topic paper is:
Resolved: The Untied States Federal Government should substantially reduce its restrictions on
immigration in one or more of the following areas: visas, asylum, social services, undocumented
immigrants currently residing in the United States.

I understand that there doesn't have to be overlap, but if "social services" is included into the wording, how much spillover between the hs topic would there be? Does that spillover matter? Could it be limited?

Thanks!

Kelly
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 10:47:55 AM by kelly young » Logged

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kelly young
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2010, 10:09:34 AM »

Overall, do not be too worried about applications to previous topics and too willing to assume what those topics were or were not about.  Second, although this may not meet your standard for a “hawt sauce” T argument   Smiley, topicality is important and can greatly assist the content and skills involved in debate.  Malgor has been outstanding on this in other posts.  All topicality debates are not desirable or good, but some topicality is crucial and, depending on the term of art in question, can be central to understanding a dispute or controversy area.

Alright, I now regret how I phrased my earlier T arguments about space, but let me make clear before everyone makes assumptions about my position on T is that I don't think all T debates are worthless. You and Malgor both misunderstood my point. Tedious T debates that make painfully artificial distinctions that literature doesn't support are awful debates. My comment about "hawtsauce" T debates is that a T debate about why sending 4 satellites into space isn't space exploration is not a particularly enjoyable debate. This was a direct response to the anonymous poster who thought that T debates about what is the Mesosphere and like the 3 things that aren't space exploration are awesome and great T debates. They aren't. I debated though a whole topic where those T debate arose every round. They were some of the worst T debates.

And I still maintain that arguing that one debate topic is more prone to T debates than another is not a very compelling "advantage" to a topic.

So, I appreciate the lessons about the value of T, but they really aren't necessary. Some T debates are horrible, particularly over terms that cannot or arent exclusive.

Kelly
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2010, 06:59:54 AM »

Kelly, not trying to get too pedantic with topicality.  The more we talk about it, though, the better.

I understand that "social services" could be a sub-set of actions required to promote immigration (or reduce obstacles to successful immigration) and is used in one of the potential wordings in the paper.  Like I mentioned, this is in the context of immigration and refugee policy, not "persons living in poverty."  That makes a difference--and the overlap that does exist (such as the legal services mentioned in the evidence above) would be a strong area for debate.  The solvency, link, and topicality debates are all potentially vigorous and topic-specific.

More evidence--for use primarily on the negative, but indicative of the fertile debate on services and outside welfare policies:

Center for Immigration Studies, '03 (http://www.cis.org/articles/2003/back503.html)

Change Immigration, Not Welfare. The failure of the immigrant provisions of welfare reform to address the very real problem of high rates of immigrant use indicates that another approach is needed. Trying to cut immigrant families from welfare after they are here is simply not working. Moreover, there is a very important question of fairness. After all, while they may make smaller tax contributions on average, immigrants still typically pay taxes from the moment they arrive, so they should be able to access the programs they need. But even more profoundly, allowing them into the country and then denying access to programs everyone else is allowed to use sends the message that they may come, but are not going to be treated like one of us. The decision in 1996 to leave the level of immigration at record levels and instead cut immigrants off from welfare programs can be described as a high immigration/anti-immigrant policy. But there is another set of policies that would almost certainly make more sense. This approach may be described as apro-immigrant policy of low immigration. That is, the United States could reduce the level of legal and illegal immigration, moving to a system that selects immigrants based primarily on skills and not whether they have a relative already in the country, which is the basis of the current system. As far as illegal immigration, better policing of the border, monitoring temporary visitors, and penalizing employers who hire illegals could significantly reduce illegal immigration. At the same time, the nation could embrace a policy of treating immigrants as the future Americans that they are, including extending them the same welfare benefits as native-born Americans.

If we do not restructure our immigration policy, then the costs of providing welfare to immigrant families will continue to increase. Politicians can only ignore this problem for so long. At some point, they will have to confront this issue and either try yet again to restrict immigrant access to the welfare system, which has not worked, or change immigration policy, admitting fewer immigrants likely to need welfare in the first place.


For the other side of this debate--part of a source debate that demonstrates the depth in this area--see http://www.urban.org/publications/900621.html.  Thanks for all your posts--you're getting some good stuff going.

Kevin
« Last Edit: May 10, 2010, 07:01:30 AM by kevin kuswa » Logged
antonucci23
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2010, 11:56:41 AM »

I'm not too worried about the overlap - I mean, I don't think the college community's research effort will be eclipsed by existent HS files.

Having also coached HS debate, though, I didn't think that social services was an incredibly helpful term, particularly in the context of immigration debates.

We'll revisit this if immigration wins; I think it's an easy fix.
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