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Immigration debate affected by style

Despite the heavy rain on April 20, students and faculty packed the Eagle Great Room to hear representatives from national organizations debate the current immigration policy and reform.

While the high attendance may have been a result of requirements for classes, those who weathered the storm saw two very different styles and perspectives on the issue.

Dan Stein, the president of the Federation of American Immigration Reform, spoke about the importance of enforcing border control and to limit the amount of immigrants the United States allows every year, since the country can no longer accept and hold that many people.

His counterpart, Judy Bernstein-Baker, the executive director of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and Council Migration Services, shared about the many benefits immigrants bring to the United States, which has always been a country of diversity, while disproving common statements used against them.

Overall, students said that the debate was helpful. but they found it difficult to take a side because the speakers used such different debate styles and did not speak about the same aspects of the issue. Junior Hope Ludwig, said the difference was that Stein argued with facts and Bernstein-Baker argued with emotions and stories.

“Their styles were interesting and for some people it might have affected how they heard what they said, political science professor Kathie Lee said, who also moderated the debate. “If I would redo it, I would have said to them, in your opening statements we want you to address these statements because then you would at least have a level playing field.”

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