Senior Brendan Noble (left) and senior Razi Lane debated the topic of immi­gration on Monday, Oct. 9. Brendan Noble | Courtesy

Although lib­er­tarians and Repub­licans can agree on mea­sures to make gov­ernment smaller, the debate between seniors Razi Lane and Brendan Noble on immi­gration showed that in terms of immi­gration policy, the two groups stand opposed.

More than 100 stu­dents packed into Lane 124 to hear Lane and Noble debate the con­ser­v­ative and lib­er­tarian posi­tions on immi­gration on Monday night.

The hour-long debate, mod­erated by sophomore Ian English, was rel­a­tively tame. Before the debate, sophomore Mary Kate Boyle, a member of the Fair­field Society, polled the audience members on their political ide­ologies. The poll showed Noble had some con­vincing to do, since the Repub­licans hands doubled the lib­er­tarians’.

This was the second time Lane and Noble have debated in public, though the freshman-year roo­mates each indi­cated they often spar about current issues.

Lane, clad in a white shirt, black blazer, and red tie a la Trump, spoke in the manner of a sea­soned speech and debate student, rat­tling off sta­tistics and flashed stapled sheets of paper while he ref­er­enced spe­cific studies and con­gressmen by name.

He argued for the con­ven­tional Repub­lican stances on immi­gration spon­sored by the Her­itage Foun­dation, including making English the official American lan­guage, abol­ishment of sanc­tuary cities, reforming the legal immi­gration system, enhanced used of I‑9 forms and E‑Verify, and bol­stering border security.

“These are holistic reforms not just eco­nomic ones,” Lane said.

Noble, who extolled the eco­nomic ben­efits of easy immi­gration, had only a few typed sheets of paper to ref­erence but a stern crit­icism of Lane’s position.

Noble sup­ported nat­u­ral­ization of immi­grants through a simpler process of nat­u­ral­ization and extolled the ben­efits of the addi­tional tax revenue such mea­sures would bring.

“We have to actually fix the problem,” Noble said. “Razi has not shown any­thing to fix the problem. His is a patchwork of little ideas that don’t actually solve the illegal immi­gration crisis or help the economy in the long run.”

Noble and Lane both sup­ported cutting illegal immi­grants from welfare ben­efits, although Noble defended immi­grants from Africa and South America and their ability to assim­ilate well into American society, claiming these groups have similar tra­di­tional Christian values.

This sparked the largest point of dis­content: concern over Lane’s position that the police should use their forces to break up and deport gangs in problem areas.

Noble found Lane’s position unfounded. He ref­er­enced a study by the Cato Institute, which com­pared incar­cer­ation rates by migratory status, eth­nicity and gender.

“All immi­grants are less likely to be incar­cerated than natives rel­ative to their shares of the pop­u­lation,” the study said.

“Police forces are already way too mil­i­ta­rized in our coun­tries,” Noble said. “What was the phrase Razi used? ‘We want to purge com­mu­nities before crime takes place.’ Last time I checked, that sounds like Nazi Germany, not America.”

Lane was not impressed with Noble’s unwill­ingness to acknowledge that breaking up gangs through police force would help protect the nation.

“This demon­strates the utter cal­lousness of lib­er­tar­i­anism as a phi­losophy,” Lane said. “Brendan is a good man playing with a vile phi­losophy.”

Noble tried to explain the eco­nomic value of immi­grants and their will­ingness to do jobs Amer­icans would not do. In response, Lane focused on the humanity of each immi­grant.

“They are people, it is more than hiring just a pair of hands,” Lane said. “What they are hiring is a person with their own predilec­tions and idio­syn­crasies. This dehu­man­izing phi­losophy takes people and sells them as mere products.”

Many stu­dents expressed they thought Lane defended his position well.

“I think Mr. Lane won hon­estly,” freshman Spencer Rothfuss said. “He had sources and things to back him. He had both Her­itage, which is super con­ser­v­ative, and Cato, which is super lib­er­tarian, to back him up.”