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.”