Commission Hearing Guidelines
Members of the Commission
The Commission has been drawn from both Houses of Congress. Membership on the Commission was allocated to represent different regions of the country and varying points of view. Border state members will have especially strong views about the cost of immigration for government.
For the hearing simulation, students should dress the part. Have tent signs to identify you by name, political party and state.
Presenters each have five minutes to make their case. Present your argument and the reasons it is the correct policy for the U.S. Provide logical and clear reasons and don't forget to include arguments relating to overall U.S. foreign and economic policies, as well as domestic issues related to education, health care, and the local economy. Presentations should be as "slick" as possible with charts, posters, PowerPoint slides, etc. Remember these presentations have been researched and prepared by lobbyists and political action groups of various kinds. Presenters should "act the part" of the people who would support the option they are presenting.
After the first round of presentations, groups may respond to each other's positions, taking no more than 2 minutes. Remember to talk to the Commissioners and remind them that the policy they are recommending to Congress will have a huge impact.
To be prepared with good rebuttals, take careful notes during the presentations so that you have an answer for any issues brought forward that persuade to a policy other than yours. Respond to each of the arguments that call your group's position into question.
After the arguments have been presented, the Commissioners need to confer privately. Discuss the arguments among yourselves, but remember to represent the positions that a member of your political party or state would hold.
Select the policy option and prepare a short presentation on why this option is best. Highlight what arguments were most persuasive.
Recording Form for Use During the Presentations
Option 1 Opening Ourselves to the World
The last few years have brought an end to the atmosphere of fear and mistrust that gripped the world for much of this century. The Cold War is over, barriers to international understanding have fallen, and a new era of global interaction is dawning. In the world that is emerging, borders will have less significance. Americans can take pride in a heritage that springs from a set of principles promoting openness, tolerance, and diversity. Immigration puts our country in touch with the preferences and tastes of consumers worldwide, and gives U.S. companies an edge in opening export markets. Keeping our doors open lets the world know that the United States remains a country that looks forward to tomorrow.
Option 2 Balancing Our Responsibilities
The United States and the world are facing both serious problems and unprecedented opportunities. In this challenging atmosphere, the United States continues to be an international leader. To remain responsible citizens of the world, however, we must restore the health of our own society. Only then will we be able to effectively join other wealthy, developed countries in addressing the problems that plague much of the poor, developing world, such as environmental pollution, unsanitary living conditions, and the spread of AIDS. Opening our doors to massive immigration resolves no one's problems. The money we spend on settling immigrants should be directed inward toward our own disadvantaged citizens and outward in the form of foreign aid programs that promote responsible, long-term development in Mexico, the Caribbean, and other poor areas.
Option 3 Competing in a Competitive World
Economic competition among nations in the 21st century is set to reach new levels of intensity. We are still a growing country, with enormous resources and human potential, but we have let our competitive edge slip away in the past few decades. Our country requires an immigration policy that fits our overall economic needs. A two-pronged approach makes the most sense. To spur American high-tech industries forward, our doors should be open to scientists and engineers from abroad. To help American factories, farms, and service industries hold down costs, we should allow a limited number of foreigners to work temporarily in low-wage jobs.
Option 4 Recognizing Our Limits
The world is changing at a breakneck pace. The population explosion in poor countries, the spread of war and chaos, and the age-old curses of hunger and disease plague an ever-growing portion of humanity. We must recognize that Americans can do little to end the misery that haunts much of the world. Simply maintaining our way of life amounts to a major challenge. Although the United States is a nation of immigrants, the arguments supporting massive immigration have long since passed into history. Now it is time to say "enough." We should drastically reduce the number of immigrants we accept and commit the resources necessary to take control of our borders.