Head Chair: Lucas Fellows Vice Chair: Keelia Uno Moderator: Cannon Sloan
Position papers will be due on February 2, 2018. The position paper format, and all other important conference documents, can be found on our conference website, http://lhhsconference.weebly.com/. Email all position papers to our committee email: lhhsSenate@gmail.com. Feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or concerns!
Hi everyone! I’m Lucas Fellows and I will be the head chair of the US Senate Committee of this year’s LHHS MUN Conference. I am currently a junior here at Laguna Hills and have played basketball and volleyball the last three years. I enjoy activities such as eating and occasionally binge-watching Netflix series. I will be running this committee with Keelia Uno as my vice chair, Cannon Sloan as moderator, and Liam Fellows as my committee assistant. Keelia and Cannon are both sophomores at LHHS and Liam is a freshman. Before anyone asks; yes, Liam is my younger brother. Anyways, I look forward to this committee as well as some epic debate and creative solutions!
Hi, I’m Keelia Uno, your vice chair. I am a sophomore at LHHS. I’ve played tennis for two years, and have danced hula for four years. As a hobby I like to read, play with my dog, and watch Netflix. I was a moderator in Senate last year, and look forward to being your vice chair this year, and to a great committee.
My name is Cannon Sloan and I am your moderator. I am a sophomore here at Laguna Hills High School. I play football and baseball. I'm pretty busy with my school life, but on the weekends I like to hangout with my friends and go to the beach.
Topic A: Illegal Immigration
Background: Illegal immigration is one of the most relevant problems that faces many of the nations of our modern global world. Illegal immigration can be defined as the illegal movement of an immigrant from one nation to another. Immigrants move for many reasons but usually it is because they previously lived in a nation with little resources, poor infrastructure, and weak government. This can result in great conflict in many nations. Often times when illegal immigration occurs these immigrants become incorporated into society and start to function like a normal citizen. However even though these immigrants are eventually incorporated into societies they often eventually are discovered to be illegal immigrants and are deported back to their country of origin. This very problem causes governments to question whether or not they should try to find illegal immigrants and remove them from society. Although illegal immigrants can have bad effects they are part of the economic system and are often heavily relied on for cheap labor. Our modern economy relies on vulnerability of illegal immigrants in order to fill less desirable occupations for low wages. On the other hand, illegal immigration can also cause lots of social problems. Usually illegal immigrants are of a common race which can cause the citizens of a nation to make the people of this common race seem like bad people. In summary illegal immigration is a problem that can bring up many social, political, and economic problems. However illegal immigration usually effects the migrants more than the native people of a nation. In the United States the current status of immigration is very concerning. Many immigrants are constantly flooding into the united states from areas like Syria and Mexico. The borders between the United States and Mexico are constantly in high stress, due to people trying to sneak across the border and people bringing illegal items into the nation. The living conditions in Mexico are very poor and they have a very corrupt government. As a result of this many people from mexico are attempting to come to the United States. However, many of these immigrants are doing it illegally in order to not have to pay fees they can not afford. It is important to remember that many of these people not only immigrate illegally but often times people also immigrate to another country illegally because they bring illegal substances such as narcotics and firearms. On the other hand, In areas such as Syria, many people are migrating into the USA because they have come to live in a land with opportunity, peace, and freedom. They seek a land to live in that grants freedom and has peace and prosperity. The United States is in great need of addressing its immigration issues.
US Involvement: The US has in place organizations like the Board Of Immigration to regulate the immigration flow in the country. Organizations created in the US like the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) Immigrants’ Rights organization work to promote and protect the rights of immigrants. Former President Obama’s administration put programs in place that protected the rights and helped those illegal immigrants that came into the country undocumented. Obama created the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) organization in 2012 to help children who were entering the United States. The program gave those eligible a period of deferred action and the ability to request employment authorization. In 2014 the Obama Administration launched the memorandum DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) which granted delayed action to the parents of legal US citizens as well as expanded on DACA to include a wider range of people and changing the length of deferred action from two years to three. However, when the Obama administration left the White House, the view shifted with the Trump administration’s emergence. In January 2017 the newly elected President issued an Executive Order which established new immigration enforcement policies. President Trump has also since terminated the 2012 DACA organization, and they no longer accept new applications. Sticking to his vows to keep a tighter reign on the illegal immigration, the President also referred to the building of a Mexico-US border wall, which has not begun as of yet, but the US, under the Trump Administration, still works towards establishing this. The administration emphasizes national security and argues that terrorism is facilitated by illegal immigration, and calls for stricter regulations. Trump has called for zero tolerance against illegal aliens, and to block funding to sanctuary cities, though the push for stricter regulations has met fierce opposition from some such cities and much of the populus.
Democrat: Most Democrats within the Senate are in favor of creating easier pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Democratic senators tend to be more lenient towards illegal immigration and believe that there are various benefits that coincide with a larger population. Such benefits of a higher population include stimulating the economy and creating more of a cultural balance in America. However, due to unprecedented economic constraints, some democrats have begun to accept President Trump’s stricter immigration enforcement policies.
Republican: With a Republican in the White House, more strict immigration policies have begun to take hold. The majority of Republicans in the Senate believe that it is necessary to develop harsher border control methods as a means of ensuring national security and economic stability. Republicans recognize the benefits of hard working, legalized immigrants and have no issue with granting them amnesty. This party is solely in opposition of the process of illegal immigration. This is due to the idea that illegal immigrants are not required to pay taxes, yet receive welfare benefits paid for by the taxes on US citizens.
Independent: The Independent American Party involves a stance very similar to the democratic approach to illegal immigration. Senators within this party believe that the US should allow immigrants to enter a country that was founded by immigrants. The IAP differs from other political parties in their belief that illegal immigrants should receive the same treatment as legal immigrants.
Questions to consider:
What state does your senator represent and how much of this state is comprised of immigrants?
Who/What are the main stakeholders in this issue?
What are some social and economic concerns regarding this topic of illegal immigration and how do they affect the population?
What would the opposing party agree with that your Senator agrees with as well?
For what reasons does your state either oppose/support the process of illegal immigration?
Background: Prison reform is one of the many forms of global conflict. It often is argued whether or not a nation needs to reform their prisons in the sense to make them more or less strict. Many of the lesser developed nations have very bad living conditions in their prisons, which can arise the question of whether or not human right violations are occurring during the imprisonment of felons. Prisoners often are denied rights like freedom of speech because they are expected to treat officials in certain ways and are not allowed to speak in many occasions. Bad living conditions, such as bad food and dirty cells are also violating human rights. But these nations need to have a way to hold these felons. On the other hand in more developed nations it can also often be argued whether or not prisons parallel the often vague descriptions of human rights. Many people think that it is not right for a man to be trapped in a cell for a great part of his life regardless of what they did. Many prisons also are becoming overcrowded because law enforcement can be so strict in more developed nations. It is very arguable whether or not prisons are adequate for our modern world or if they need great reform. Usually this is a more debatable topic in bad areas, with high crime rates. These areas contribute much more to the prisons which make them more likely to deem the conditions of these prisons of needing reform. However many people argue that prisoners are bad people and they do not deserve good conditions to live in.
In 2015 former President Obama spoke out about prison reform, and asserted that something must be done. The US has had a notorious record in regard to prison rates and conditions, human rights questions coming into play. Under Obama, the US pushed to change things in an effort to defend human rights, and reform the brutal prison system. The president then called for federal review of solitary confinement, more rights given to prisoners, including voting rights and to change the mandatory minimum sentences. Both the Republicans and Democrats recognize that the prison system is in dire need of reform, and in October of 2015 introduced bill S.2123-Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 that would reduce the mandatory minimum sentences for prisoners that were non-violent. This bill also called for the reduction of mandatory life sentences from average 40 years to 20. However, the senate and the country remains split, with others still upholding the mandatory minimum sentence. Another organization that began in the US was the Right on Crime organization that was formed by a group of Republicans. This group advocated for the implementation of programs proven to reduce the chances of re-offence and called for the decrease of costs to the state by reducing the number of prisoners and length of incarceration. In October of 2017 the S.2123-Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 was reintroduced as bill S.1917- Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017. While this bill made it through the senate judiciary committee, it did not go to the Senate floor for a vote. When President Trump came to office, the advocates for prison reform were disappointed further when he appointed people to his cabinet who supported mandatory minimum sentences vocally.
Democrat: The Democratic Party is a large advocator for prison reform. Democrats perceive the US’s high rates of incarceration as justification for reducing the number of detainees. Therefore, this party is in favor of new methods that result in decreased prison populations. Many senators within this party support the idea of releasing nonviolent offenders. Furthermore, the majority of Democrats would like to see the sentences of other crimes be lowered, as well, in order to limit the number of prisoners and allow convict an additional chance in society.
Republican: Most Republicans are supporters of the “tough on crime” ideology. Therefore, the majority of senators believe in full sentences and severe, but justified, punishment. In addition, Republicans generally favor less government spending. One of the main issues that Republicans have a problem with is the large amount of taxes in which the federal government opposes upon its people. The Republican Party plans to back any solutions that will help keep prison institutions adequate while remaining cost-effective. As a result, privatized prisons have gained a large amount of backing from this party as well as other capitalist concepts.
Independent: The IAP is also in agreement most of the values of the Democratic party regarding prison reform. This party takes a relatively “soft on crime” approach to this issue. As a result, IAP senators favor less intense sentences, lower prison populations, and progress over punishment.
Questions to consider:
Does your senator’s home state have certain views about prison reform and how many prisons reside in the state?
How have certain state level laws succeeded/failed regarding this issue and how are the current conditions?
What are some common grounds between the Republicans and Democrats regarding this issue?
What are the various social and economic intentions of reforming prisons?
What steps has your senator’s state taken pertaining to prison reform?