Topic Analysis: December 2013 and the Con

2013 December Topic
Resolved: Immigration reform should include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.

The Con/Negative side of December 2013 has a tough battle. A large majority believe in a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Often the evidence that says otherwise has heavy bias and problematic methodology. So what do you do on the Con side?

If I were debating, I would focus in on the phrase “a path to citizenship.” This is what the Pro defends, and therefore the Con can support not a path to citizenship. This could mean no citizenship period. Or this could mean not a path, but still citizenship – in other words amnesty.

Amnesty:  the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals (Merriam Webster)

Some are saying under the current proposal, S.744, the path to citizenship for the majority of formerly undocumented immigrants would be near impossible. The legislation involves fines and processing fees which are unimaginable for poverty-level persons and families. There are also education and English requirements (with waivers). Finally, the problem of years in a system awaiting citizenship creates a giant class of people who have no voting rights, but will be subject to the laws and dependent on U.S. systems. Individuals will pay taxes but have no say how that money is spent.

Amnesty, or immediate pardon and citizenship, presents it’s own philosophical and procedural problems, but it may have more grounds to beat the Pro in December than attempting to say no citizenship should be given to our current undocumented population. Consider pulling out some amnesty backfiles and carefully constructing a case for amnesty that does read as a counterplan.

Food for thought for the struggling Con cases out there!


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