The University of Georgia and Emory University got bold on Tuesday night, tackling one of the most divisive issues of this election – immigration policy.
About 80 students attended the debate between The Georgia Debate Union contended and Emory University’s Barkley Forum for Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue. Debating different solutions and approaches to this issue, the panel consisted of six students, three from UGA and three from Emory University.
Harry Stone, a third year at Emory University, opened the debate stating that America stands to benefit from comprehensive immigration reform as it can further the education of the entire population, but especially for immigrants.
“The value of education has limitless dividends and creates ripples that lead to an increase of social and economic welfare,” says Stone.
Countering that argument, third year UGA student Victoria Yonter, stated that instead, America only needs to strengthen and reinforce its current policies on immigration, rather than calling for a full on reform.
“Though reform looks pretty and shiny, it’s simply not effective,” says Yonter.
Arguing that the current immigration policies are sufficient, she reemphasized the importance of strengthening our porous borders and increasing security and regulation of immigration altogether.
Given that this issue is just as personal as it is controversial, it’s inevitable that bias presented itself in arguments from both sides. Cameron Henderson, a third year at UGA, thought this bias led to too much discussion of personal opinions on how to solve the issue, rather than discussing actual policies.
“I just wish they could’ve been more specific in differentiating between each side’s opinion on the issue,” says Henderson.
In an effort to give students more insight on policies and mobilize them to vote, UGA has put on events like this all semester. Events like these have afforded opportunities to students like Bailey Davison, a fourth year International Affairs major, to learn more about topics that she takes interest in and be well informed.
“I definitely think it’s important that UGA provides events like this throughout the year, especially during an election season,” says Davison. “It’s a way for students to become informed voters on specific issues.”
The University is ensuring its students are active and informed for the upcoming election by hosting events like these. Over the next three weeks, there are many more events students will be able to attend and participate in regarding the election.