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Refuting the connection between admitting refugees and terrorism

One common argument in defense of refugee restrictions is that allowing more refugees increases terrorism risks because terrorists could be hidden among the refugee flows. There are a few critical problems with this argument. First, refugees are heavily and extensively vetted – in other words, they are thoroughly checked out to make sure they do not present any security risks before entering the US. Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty, August 21, 2018, Connecticut Delegation Urges Secretary Pompeo To Reject Refugee Proposals, https://www.murphy.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/connecticut-delegation-urges-secretary-pompeo-to-reject-reprehensible-refugee-proposals The Administration additionally overstates the potential threat posed by refugees resettled in the United States. Refugees are already among the most extensively vetted individuals to enter the United States and alleged security concerns are no reason to cap the USRAP. These baseless justifications must be countered with policies that will preserve the United States’ moral integrity and humanitarian tradition. Congressional Documents and Publications, August 31, 2018 With the Number of Refugees Permitted to Come to the U.S. on Pace for Lowest Number on Record, Senators Call on Trump Administration to Step Up Efforts and Honor America’s Legacy as a Safe Haven for Families Fleeing Persecution; Among all travelers to the United States, refugees are the most carefully and thoroughly vetted.[15] Prior to traveling, refugees must clear extensive biometric, biographic, intelligence, medical, and law enforcement checks, involving multiple agencies and extensive interviews.[16] While we must continue to screen refugee applicants thoroughly, we must also conduct the vetting and interviews in a timelier manner and address the root causes of mass displacement abroad Second, refugee restrictions reduce counter-terrorism cooperation and intelligence sharing, destabilize vital allies, and make terrorist recruiting more effective Acer, 17 – director of Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection program (Eleanor, “U.S. Leadership Forsaken Six Months of the Trump Refugee Bans” July, Human Rights First, https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/sites/default/files/HRF-US-Leadership-Forsaken-FINAL.pdf .As detailed above, the refugee bans and their cuts to resettlement have impacted U.S. allies and undercut U.S. support for nations whose stability is key to U.S. foreign policy and national security interests. For example, refugee resettlement from Jordan fell by 64 percent in the first five months of 2017 and resettlement from Lebanon fell by 35 percent. Resettlement to the United States from Turkey has dropped by 79 percent in recent months. Former national security officials and military leaders who have served both Democratic and Republican administrations have repeatedly expressed concerns that the derailment of resettlement undermines our ability to support the stability of strategically important nations, including U.S. allies.83 For example: n In the wake of the March 6 order, former officials with national security expertise wrote that “resettlement initiatives advance U.S. national security interests by protecting the stability of U.S. allies and partners struggling to host large numbers of refugees,” that the ban is “harmful to U.S. national security” and that “the order’s drastic reduction in the number of refugees to be resettled … weakens this country’s ability to provide global leadership and jeopardizes our national security interests by failing to support the stability of our allies that are struggling

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Resolved: On balance, refugee restrictions in developed countries are permissible (NSDA China, Spring 2018)

Legally and morally, governments have both obligations to help refugees as well as a right to control their borders. One of the way governments do that is by restricting immigration. These obligations are very well established in political theory, legal tradition, and ethical scholarship. These legal and moral obligations stem from practical concerns related to protecting a country’s economic interests and its security from physical threats. The essential question the resolution asks is whether or not these conceptual and practical interests outweigh other competing interests – legal and ethical obligations to refuges, as well as practical potential benefits that might stem from letting more refugees into the country. In this essay we will unpack some of the key terms in the resolution, discuss political and ethical theories that underlie the debate, identify key arguments for both sides, and conclude with some arguments you can make on each side as to which one outweighs. To contextualize the obligations that governments have to refugees, it is also important to understand the current refugee crisis and what it mean for someone to be a “refugee.” There are currently 68 million refugees on the move worldwide, constituting the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Lauren Crow, December 19, 2018, https://www.economist.com/the-world-in/2018/12/19/how-to-alleviate-the-refugee-crisis How to alleviate the refugee crisis The number of refugees worldwide has climbed for six consecutive years. Some 68m people are now displaced by violence and persecution—equal to a fifth of the population of America, nearly half that of Russia and more than the entire population of Britain. At the same time, humanitarian support is chronically underfunded. As of September 2018 the United Nations’ refugee agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (unhcr), and its partners had received just 31% of the funds they needed to provide basic assistance to millions of Syrian refugees and displaced people. The same dire situation exists elsewhere too, with less than half the amount of humanitarian funds needed in the vast majority of conflict-affected countries. If nothing is done, this trend of growing numbers and scarce resources will continue, with severe consequences, in 2019. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks. This is not a sustainable situation. The answer does not lie in countries adopting harsh unilateral measures that target refugees and that run counter to humanitarian values and responsibilities. That will only inflame the problem. Instead, we must reduce the number of displaced people worldwide by preventing and solving the conflicts that drive them from their homes. We must rally people and countries to act together based on common interests and universal aspirations for security, dignity and equality. This does not have to come at the expense of our safety and economic well-being at home, but is an essential requirement when facing problems of international dimensions. Rights, funding, action Let’s look at the facts. First, 85% of all refugees live in low- and middle-income countries. Most people who are displaced by violence remain

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Refugees Topic Updates (Spring NSDA China)

Many refugees being forcibly returned to Syria Jesse Markes, 2-13, 19, Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2019/02/12/syrian-refugees-face-growing-pressure-to-return-to-insecure-conditions-heres-why/ Jesse Marks is an MPhil candidate in International Relations and Politics at the University of Cambridge, and a former Fulbright visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies in Jordan and a Scoville fellow at the Stimson Center. In July, a Russian strategy was introduced to facilitate the return of more than 1.7 million refugees to Syria, where 6.2 million people remain internally displaced. The United Nations projects the return of 250,000 refugees this year. Increasingly anti-refugee policies in western states and the reduction of Syrian refugees resettled annually from 2016 to 2018 have placed significant financial and domestic political pressures on host countries in the region. As a result, heightened domestic fears in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey of permanent integration are coinciding with a reported increase in deportations since 2017. With resettlement increasingly less possible and the domestic instability surrounding fears of naturalization, the regional and global push for the return of Syrian refugees is underway. In most instances, however, it is premature. Refugees are at risk of forced return to Syria because of shifting norms in refugee policymaking. How did this come about? The resettlement regime falls first ADVERTISING The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has three primary “durable solutions” for refugees — resettlement, integration and voluntary repatriation (return). In 2016, the first option, resettlement, came under attack amid waves of Syrian asylum seekers and refugees fleeing toward Europe. Rather than accepting refugees, many western states closed their doors and looked to neighboring countries — Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan — already hosting significant refugee populations to stem the outflows. The protracted displacement of as many as 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon and upward of 1.4 million in Jordan have intensified domestic concerns about political and socioeconomic issues in both countries. Host to more than 3.6 million Syrians refugees, Turkey has a greater size and economic capacity, but the general public responded with backlash to 55,000 Syrian refugees obtaining citizenship. The politics of return rates With the door on resettlement and naturalization closing, return is becoming a priority for host states. But UNHCR and host states seem to be painting different narratives about both the manner of and justification for returns, with host states consistently reporting higher totals of returning refugees. Moreover, Russia’s Center for Reconciliation for Syria announced that about 130,000 Syrians returned last year — putting its estimated total at 315,000 since the beginning of the war. Meanwhile, the United Nations reported that it has verified about 103,000 refugees who have returned to Syria since 2015. While refugee return rates are inevitably difficult to monitor, host states may be more inclined to report higher totals to emphasize that return is plausible. Higher totals would also signal to other Syrian refugees that return is safe because thousands of others have gone home before them. Or, refugee returns are occurring more widely than the UNHCR is able to monitor and verify, bringing into question whether

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The United States should end its arms sales to Saudi Arabia (Bibliography)

Background A call to end US-Saudi Arms sales (2017). This article is a good quick overview of the the pros and cons of the sales. It also has critical background information on the conflict in Yemen and some of the humanitarian consequences of the war. Saudi Arabia: Background and US Relations (September, 2018). This is a long Congressional Research Service report that reviews the major issues in US-Saudi relations.  It will take you awhile to read it, but if you do read it you will have a good understanding of the Saudi-US relationship. Trump touts Saudi Arms Sales (March 2018).  This article covers the visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MSB) to the US and Trump’s efforts to boost relationships with Saudi Arabia. It also discusses the current arms deal. It is a very brief article. US has ratched up arms sales to Saudi Arabia (October 2018). This is a very short article that says the US doesn’t want to cancel arms sales to Saudi Arabia after the murder of  Jamal Khashoggi, a murder almost certainly committed by the Saudi government. The article is very short, but there are some useful infographics that show the expanding arms sales. Countries still selling arms to the Kingdom (May 2018). This article reviews the major arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia and argues that the US is the dominant supplier. It does suggest that China and Russia could possibly fill in if the US were to reduce its sales, though it also points out that they are very small suppliers now. Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives on US Policy  (2017).  This longer Congressional Research Service report offers an excellent overview of US arms sales to the Middle East. It does cover countries beyond Saudi Arabia, but it also identifies the core reasons the US sells arms (economics, influence) and discusses some of the pros and cons of the Saudi sale. How much does Saudi Arabia spend on arms deals with the US? (October 2018). This article argues that US sales to Saudi Arabia are currently only worth $3-$4 billion per year and that China and Russia cannot simply fill in.. US-Saudi Cooperation: Conditioning Arms Sales to Build Trust (November 2018). This article contends that US weapons are being used offensively in Yemen but also argues that if we cut off sales that the Saudis would still have the weapons they need to execute the war for years. Europeans cut Saudi arms sales (March 2018). This article discusses the potential inconsistency between the sales and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) but also argues other countries won’t limit sales to comply (if needed) with the treaty. Saudi Arabia is America’s Number One Weapons Buyer (October 2018).   This is just a general article that says the US has sold a lot of weapons to Saudi Arabia and that the US dominates the global arms trade. Pro Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia: Worth the Cost?  (January 2018). This brief two page report argues that US arms

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Resolved: Public health services should expand access to gene editing technologies (Bibliography))

[Topic introduction,  PPT General — Background Everything You need to Know about CRISPR and Gene Editing (MIT Technology Review) Experts debate the risks of human gene editing Potential Benefits and Ethical Implications of Gene Editing (Fox News) A Technique that lets scientists edit DNA is changing things Gene Editing Technique Could transform the future (BBC) Gene editing: The next frontier in America’s abortion wars (Politico) Scientists debate ethics of gene editing (Guardian) Pro — Gene Editing Good Gene Editing Isn’t About Designer Babies — It’s About Hope (The Guardian) DNA surgery successfully cures diseases (Miami Herald) Gene Editing Prevents Inherited Disease (UK NIH) Gene Editing is like Playing God: And What’s wrong with that? (The Guardian) Why human genetic editing must not be stopped (The Guardian) Con — Gene Editing Bad Open letter calls for ban on human germ line editing How CRISPR and gene editing could ruin human evolution (Time) Gene editing has off-target effects that researchers have been  ignoring Can CISPR technologies be used in biological warfare? (IB Times) Gene editing poses inescapable ethic problems (Catholic News) Will editing your genes be mandatory? (The Atlantic)  

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Resolved: Public health services should expand access to gene editing technologies (Introduction)

[Bibliography, PPT, Gene Editing Topic Vocabulary] Introduction The Fall 2018 Public Forum debate topic for NSDA China is, Resolved: Public health services should expand access to gene editing technologies. In this essay we break-down and discuss they key terms, essential background information, and introduce Pro and Con arguments. As will discussed throughout the essay, there are two key issues on this topic — are gene editing technologies desirable and should they be accessible through public health services? Different Pro and Con teams will emphasize different aspects of that debate. Resolution Terms There are three key terms in the resolution and we will discuss them in the order that will help you best understand the meaning of all three Gene Editing Technologies In order to understand what gene editing technologies are it is important to understand what genes are (or to recall, if you already know). (Genes are) the biological templates the body uses to make the structural proteins and enzymes needed to build and maintain tissues and organs. They are made up of strands of genetic code, denoted by the letters G, C, T and A. Humans have about 20,000 genes bundled into 23 pairs of chromosomes all coiled up in the nucleus of nearly every cell in the body. Only about 1.5% of our genetic code, or genome, is made up of genes. Another 10% regulates them, ensuring that genes turn on and off in the right cells at the right time, for example. The rest of our DNA is apparently useless. “The majority of our genome does nothing,” says Gerton Lunter, a geneticist at the University of Oxford. “It’s simply evolutionary detritus.” What are all those Gs, Cs, Ts and As? The letters of the genetic code refer to the molecules guanine (G), cytosine (C), thymine (T) and adenine (A). In DNA, these molecules pair up: G with C and T with  [The Guardian] Genetic diseases result when there is an inappropriate mutation in a cell. Gene editing allows the gene that underlies the mutation to be edited — changed or replaced –t0 eliminate the problematic mutation. Patronus Medical, http://blog.patronusmedical.com/the-benefits-of-gene-editing The Benefits of Gene Editing In many cases, genetic diseases occur when a mutation appears inside a cell. Although researchers have been able to identify which cells the mutations occurred in, little could have been done to repair the defective genes. Gene editing allows doctors to use specialized molecular tools to remove, repair or replace damaged genes with a healthy copy. Although the technology is still a bit far off from being used regularly by medical professionals worldwide, animal trials have been successful. In fact, a team of Chinese scientists will be the first to test gene-edited cells in human patients this month. CRIPSR, or “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” is the most advanced and effective gene-editing technique being utilized by scientists. CRISPR is inexpensive, easy to use and precise. Gene modifications using CRISPR have extended from corn and rice to mice and pigs…..While scientists have long

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UBI, The Protection of Gender Equality, and the State Interest

Stefan Bauschard One important area for debaters to explore on the universal basic income topic is the relationship between UBI and the promotion of gender equality. There are a number of reasons a UBI could promoted gender equality. First, UBI enables women to leave abusive relationships, because they will have income to rely on if they need to leave. Amelia Womack is deputy leader of the Green Party, March 17, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/domestic-violence-abuse-bill-theresa-may-financial-independence-a8260736.html   How a universal basic income could help women in abusive relationships There are no easy solutions. But there are bold ideas which might help women, like a universal basic income (UBI) to give financial independence. According to research by Women’s Aid, one in five women interviewed said they couldn’t leave an abusive relationship because they had no money of their own, and the same number said financial abuse had left them unable to manage money. Meanwhile, research by Shelter found almost half of homeless women say domestic violence has contributed to their homelessness. Last week, Theresa May unveiled plans to protect women under the Government’s new Domestic Abuse Bill. The promise to legally recognise economic and other forms of non-physical abuse is very welcome. The Green Party has long championed a UBI, which is a non-means tested payment for every citizen, providing the essential financial support we all need. The benefits of UBI have been well discussed; from rewarding unpaid work to giving people opportunity and options in a fast changing world, it would transform society. But UBI would also transform life for women. By giving everyone financial independence, UBI would ensure no woman is ever dependent on her partner to meet her basic needs. And for those in abusive relationships, one of the barriers against leaving would be removed. Unlike benefits or wages, UBI payments would be attached to and follow individuals, irrespective of life circumstances or employment status. For women leaving an abusive relationship, there would be no endless forms or waiting for benefit payments in order to access financial help. The UBI payments would still be there, as they always had been. As well as being practically liberating, this would psychologically free women to even think about leaving in the first place. Recent research by Refuge and the Co-op bank found 60 per cent of adults in Britain who have experienced financial or economic abuse were women. Of course, financial abuse takes many forms and does not always go hand in hand with dependency. Perpetrators are adept at manipulating survivor’s income and resources, and there is still the risk that an abusive partner could exploit and misuse this independent income. But in relationships where there is control and abuse of money, UBI payments would be distinct in that they are attached to the individuals. Women’s centres and refuges could be equipped to assist women in ensuring that when they leave a relationship, their UBI payments leave with them. Enabling women to independently rebuild their lives should be at the core of domestic abuse policy. UBI

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Obama: Consider Universal Basic Income

From The Week — In his first major speech since leaving office, former President Barack Obama endorsed the idea of providing a universal basic income. Speaking at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa on Tuesday, Obama raised the notion of guaranteed income as a way to reduce what he called “yawning disparities” in wealth, education, and security across different socioeconomic groups. “It’s not just money that a job provides,” said Obama. “It provides dignity and structure and a sense of place and a sense of purpose. So we’re going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income, review of our workweek, how we retrain our young people, how we make everybody an entrepreneur at some level. But we’re going have to worry about economics if we want to get democracy back on track.”