Skip to main content
University of Texas at Austin
University Interscholastic League Logo
University Interscholastic League Logo

Speech & Debate
Contact Info

Speech & Debate Director:
Jana Riggins

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Department Phone:

Department Fax:

State Champions

18-19 CX Debate Topic

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration to the United States.

According to the Pew Research Center, 70% of voters listed immigration as “very important” to their decision in the 2016 election - more than social security, education, and environment. With extensive news coverage on immigration, even novice students have a basic working knowledge of immigration, making the experience of learning policy debate more interesting. Advanced debaters can employ nuanced and specific critical and policy arguments. Immigration reform offers a rare example of federal policy where the key questions do not often involve spending money. Instead, the debate will focus on matters of social justice and fairness. Defenders of immigration reform argue America is a nation of immigrants, and a progressive immigration policy will strengthen the economy, as well as enrich our culture. Affirmative cases might focus on particular categories of Visas - their criteria and numerical limits; they might focus on different populations, or areas of the world; they might examine types of skills under-represented in the United States. Opponents have voiced the concern that immigrants take jobs from Americans and might pose a threat to public safety. Examples of possible affirmative cases are: Comprehensive immigration reform, amnesty for immigrants already living in the United States, reversing restrictive state laws, changes to visa/quota requirements, the DREAM Act, and increasing work permits for immigrants with special skills in medicine or engineering, among others. Negative positions could focus on the economic and employment harms of increased immigration, increased risk of a terrorist attack, disruption of federalism, and the political implications of immigration reform.