The Great Immigration Policy Debate

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Please read our attendance policy ( before RSVP-ing for this event. This event is co-hosted with the NYC Debate ( meetup group.


For those who are proud to call New York City home, we are constantly reminded that the City was — and continues to be — built and shaped by the hard working immigrant communities. The changing demographic landscape has always been part and parcel to America's immigrant history; it will continue to change, as the Nation, writ large, grapples with the ever-changing sense of the "American" identity.

With approximately 12 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, immigration reform is a perennially contentious issue in Washington. At the center of the debate: if and how the immigration reform should be enacted.

Some supporters say that a swift, broad and comprehensive overhaul of the Nation's immigration laws is desperately needed. Other proponents advocate for a piecemeal approach to the immigration reform and assert that its interlocking pieces should be carefully considered before reaching the President's desk.

Critics of the reform lack confidence in Washington's ability to legislate the complicated aspects of immigration and assert that it will exacerbate a difficult job market. The critics also point out that securing the border is part-and-parcel to any immigration reform efforts.

The recent immigration reform efforts include:

• Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 — provided eligibility for "amnesty" for approximately 3 million undocumented immigrants.

• Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 — stalled in Congress and never passed.

• The DREAM Act proposals (2001 to 2011) — stalled in Congress and never passed.

• Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) of 2012 — signed and enforced via Executive Order.

These reform efforts clearly remain highly controversial. Yet, the U.S. immigration policy and enforcement measures — or the inaction thereof — are deemed have an everlasting and multifaceted impacts, including in the areas of commerce, national security, and demographic trends.

While the reform efforts have been hampered and stymied by the partisan paralysis in Washington, we will continue the debates and discussions on this very important topic.


Possible debate topics:

• Should the Central American migrant children who are currently detained be deported?

• Should the U.S. increase the number of legal immigrants that it accepts annually?

• Is illegal immigration an economic burden to America?

• Do you support the DREAM Act?

• Do you support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

• Should the undocumented immigrants be eligible to obtain a driver's license?

• Should the U.S. implement a national identification card to control and manage legal immigration?

• Should the birthright citizenship guaranteed under the 14th Amendment be changed to a stricter standard?


Event Schedule
3:00 to 3:45 - Introductions, Meet and Greet
4:00 to 5:00 - Debate Topic I
5:00 to 6:00 - Debate Topic II
6:00 to 7:00 - Legislative Merger / Conference Committee*
7:00 to 9:00 - Post-Event Social

* A mock legislative role-playing session intended for passage of a bill.

Debate Format

- Similar to the televised Presidential "townhall" debate format.
- Approximately six to eight debate participants on each side; the remaining attendees will be part of the townhall audience. There's no mandatory requirement to participate or actively debate -- so attendees can sit back and observe.
- The townhall audience members can also ask questions directly to either debate groups.
- New debate participants will be selected for each of the two topics.



Here's a photo of the building entrance:

Once you enter the building, proceed to the banquet ("Amenities") room, as shown below:


Because the event is held at a private venue, you'll be notified one day before the event with additional information, including the building address.