Amnesty takes center stage at November’s Hot Spots event.
The Hot Spots series continued Thursday as the University of La Verne debate team took on the issue of whether amnesty should be given to immigrants who live in the United States and have not passed the citizenship exam.
The event titled, “This House Believes That Amnesty Should be Given to Illegal Immigrants,” was held in the President’s Dining Room.
One team was labeled as the “Government,” included debaters Ryan Mansell, Thomas Allison and Josh Martin who argued in favor of granting amnesty.
The opposite team, Briana Pride, Brittany Lokar and Corey Teter argued for denying amnesty to illegal immigrants, saying that legal immigration is ideal.
Mansell began the debate on behalf of the “Government” by painting a scene of a hard working illegal immigrant whose tireless effort is besieged with things such as crime.
He argued that the immigrant would be unable to call the police out of fear of being deported, and as a result, turn to crime through gangs to receive protection.
Lokar countered this belief, by asserting that amnesty cheapens the effort and work of the people who entered this country legally, and undermines the national pride of the country.
“When people are assimilated, that is when we have an increase in participation and a decrease in crime,” Lokar said. “This is a group of people who ignore a process that others took the time to do.”
Lokar also drew a distinction between being anti-immigration and anti-illegal immigration.
She also articulated the differences between the two classes of immigrants.
“What this leads to is resentment and animosity,” Lokar said.
“We’re pro-immigration when done correctly,” she added.
As soon as Lokar finished, Martin took the floor and countered his peer, disagreeing with Lokar’s notion of nationalism, equating it to discrimination and an abuse of a power structure that was already stacked against illegal immigrants. Martin added an example of how amnesty can benefit the nation as a whole in the form of taxes paid.
“For their sake, they have access to police, hospitals, education, and for our sake, we have their taxes,” Martin said.
Pride, on the side of the opposition, put forth her take on the issues at hand, contesting with the “Government” side.
“Why are we willing to spend money on people who break our laws?” Pride said.
“I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about being born in the United States,” Pride said in retort to Allison’s question on where she was born.
Both sides were able to contend and refute information brought forth by the opposing side, though some members of the audience thought the “Government” had the upper hand.
“Gotta give it to the government,” said Sam French, ULV freshman who attended the debate.
“The opposition was putting a spin on whatever the government said,” said Ramirez, a junior speech communication major.
The debate team is headed by Adrian Lising, assistant professor of speech and debate.
Hot Spots is headed by Kenneth Marcus, associate professor of history and director of the International Studies Institute.
Dan Sayles can be reached at email@example.com.