This week we shout out our National Debate Champions at the National Association of Urban Debate League's National Championships at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C! Over 20 city debate leagues from Los Angeles to New York City gathered at the national tournament. The top two policy debate teams from every city are invited.
Policy Debate is the nation's oldest and most rigorous debate event where debate rounds are up to 1 1/2 hours each and there is only one topic each year where students earn an equivalent of a master's degree on that topic. Every debate team researches, writes and advocates their own "policy" to an annual problem. Therefore, debaters must study, research and write defensive and offensive arguments on hundreds of different policy proposals. This year's policy debate topic is: "Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration to the United States." Debaters throughout the year have debated nearly every single policy proposal on immigration reform including: Asylum Reform, Open Borders, Closed Borders, Border Walls, Abolish ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement), Student Visas, Climate Refugees, Dream Act, Detention Reform, Detention of Children Reform, Immigration Courts, VISA reform, Cyber Security, Domestic Violence, Family Separation, Farm Workers, Employment Visas, Skilled Workers, Gender Asylum, Religious Asylum, Human Trafficking, Travel Bans, Start Up Visas, Sudan Refugees, Syria Refugees, LGTBQ Immigration, H1-B Visa, and many many many, many, many, many, many, many more! You can see why students earn an equivalent of a master's degree on the annual topic.
And within each policy subject area - students have to research every single aspect of that policy - (a) the significance of the problem (Significance); (b) what the government is or is not doing about the problem (Inherency), (c) plans of action, (d) whether the proposed plan can or cannot solve the problem (Solvency), (e) the advantages and disadvantages of the team's plan (Advantages v. Disadvantages), (f) whether the team's plan is on topic or off topic (Topicality), (g) whether the plan is prone to any philosophical, linguistic or other criticisms (Critiques), (h) whether there are better alternative plans than the proposed policy option (Counterplans). So each policy topic then multiples into dozens of additional areas of research. And teams can already start preparing for next year's policy debate topic - Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce Direct Commercial Sales and/or Foreign Military Sales of arms from the United States. Back in the day students would carry dolly carts filled with 5-10 bins of evidence of thousands of papers. Today, students still carry around tubs-o-ev but most files are stored digitally on computers. For videos about policy debate please check out our page: https://www.debate.nyc/policy-debate-resources