There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and the question of what to do with them has sparked years of fierce debate, but no significant action. In 2013, the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” managed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate, only to get it dropped by the House. And in 2016, a deadlocked Supreme Court decision stalled President Obama’s executive actions, DACA and DAPA, which would have saved 5 million from deportation. For voters, on this issue, the choice between presidential candidates could not be clearer. Should we give these immigrants a chance to earn citizenship through a process that would include paying a penalty, passing a security check, and getting in the back of the line? Or are we rewarding them for breaking the rules, and encouraging more of the same? Do they make positive contributions to the economy and complement our workforce, or do they burden taxpayers and create unwanted competition for jobs? Should we give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship?
For the motion
Executive Director, Center for American Progress Action Fund
Angela Maria Kelley is the executive director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.Read More
Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center
Marielena Hincapié is the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.Read More
Against the motion
Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies
Steven Camarota serves as the director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies.Read More
Editor, National Review
Rich Lowry became editor of National Review in 1999 when selected by William F. Buckley, Jr. to lead the magazine. Read More
Where Do You Stand?
For The Motion
It’s not economically or logistically practical to deport 11 million people, and enforcement alone won't work.
Immigrants would earn their citizenship by going through a rigorous process that includes background checks, paying a penalty and taxes, and learning English.
Bringing immigrants legally into the workforce will stimulate the economy, increasing consumption of goods and services, and increasing tax revenue.
The border has never been more secure, the number of crossings has decreased, and we already spend over 17 billion dollars a year on enforcement.
Keeping families of mixed immigration status together is the moral thing to do.
Against The Motion
We need to focus on securing our borders and enforcing the immigration laws that we already have.
There is no way to adequately vet 11 million people for citizenship.
By granting immigrants who are here illegally a path to citizenship, we are essentially rewarding bad behavior and encouraging more of the same.
Wages have stagnated or declined for less-educated U.S. workers, many of whom are forced to compete with immigrants for jobs.
Immigrants pay less in taxes than they receive in government benefits and services.