Foreign workers should be given the right to vote in local elections where they work
Last updated: March 2, 2017
“Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite -- motto of the French Revolution This debate is about the importance of recognizing in our social structures the fundamental equality of human beings, as human beings. It begs us to ask ourselves what it means to be democratic. The advent of the global age has led to a number of issues in modern society. European nations have been plagued by protests, cross-cultural conflicts and other forms of social instability. Debate has raged over whose interests should prevail and even what it means to be European, and resolution has been elusive. Global economic insecurity has made maximization of our shared resources beyond national borders not only desirable, but necessary. If the global community is to move forward in peace and prosperity, we will first have to take definitive action to empower all citizens in our societies and to develop intercultural understanding. In recent years, widespread global mobility has given rise to a debate over what it means to be a citizen. In the context of this debate, it is necessary to make a clear distinction between the rights of nationality and those of community citizenship. National decisions rightly belong to those who have a clear commitment to their country, but residents may act as citizens in participating in local society, including community decision-making. An engaged local citizenry need not pose any threat to national sovereignty, as they involve themselves with local matters. There are a wide range of benefits that can be gained when voting rights are given to foreign workers. Beyond affirming the universality of human rights, this resolution will go far maintaining social stability, safeguarding economic growth, and promoting a peaceful global society. (It is important to recognize that it is not within the scope of the resolution we have been given to deal with the obvious problem of illegal migrant workers, other than to say that the Proposition will not contribute to this problem.)
Allowing Foreign Workers to Vote in Local Elections would Help Maintain Social Stability
The basic fact that foreigners go to other countries is the need to make profits. As economics is the sole important factor on their mind, there seems to be no value in the proposition’s point that giving voting rights will enhance social cohesion. If given a say, the foreigners will press their point for only those laws which support their cause of making profits. No social issues will be pondered upon.
It’s a problem-solution mismatch, as proposition clearly mentions such examples of violent rebellion that took place will still take place even if we ensure the right to vote. The move to provide suffrage for to the foreigners will remain an eye-wash as the foreigners will never be allowed to stand in the elections let alone win them. The point remains that they will still be a minority. Hence the granting of suffrage will do more harm than good, if any.
The resources of a country are limited and have to fulfill the unlimited needs of the people. When foreigners come and settle in the country, the same amount of resources have to support a larger number of people. This leads to resentment among the people who feel deprived of what they believe belongs to them including jobs, land, etc.
Japan’s example is worth quoting where the legislators have denied giving the voting rights to the foreigners.
Granting Foreign Workers Suffrage would Protect Them from Human Exploitation
Article 22 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states that: “Everyone, as a member of society…is entitled to realization through national effort and international cooperation in accordance with the organization and resources of each state, of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Foreign workers are inherently vulnerable to exploitation “…Many live and work in conditions described as akin to "modern slavery", apart from facing discrimination, the denial of labour rights and even violence...”[[http://allafrica.com/stories/201007020682.html]]
Regardless of their rights under the law, socio-political marginalization often leaves them in a position with no power. Is it surprising that so many are unwilling to come forward and accuse their employers
Protection from exploitation can only be achieved when immigrants have a representative government. That can never happen. The voter base would have to be greater than than the native population. There is always a trade-off for earning higher profits. In this case it is unequal treatment in a few cases. Voting being one of them. Right to suffrage clearly solves nothing.
Giving Foreign Workers the Right to Vote would Foster Global Equality
As voting rights seemed to be aspect of national sovereignty, it appeared to be difficult to extend voting rights to non-national residents. Therefore, a theoretical and political work of disconnection of local citizenship from national sovereign elections aimed to advance through recognition of local suffrage for foreign residents. The majority of European countries have now advanced in that way, but some countries still resists extending local voting rights to non-European residents. [[http://www.migrationeducation.org]]
European countries like Ireland and Sweden have implemented political integration of foreign workers by granting local voting rights to foreign workers. French parties and human rights organizations began to discuss the possibility of extending voting rights to foreign residents. In the early 1970s, the most important argument was the claim for equality between foreigners and French people, a universal conception of equality suggested that there should be no difference between foreigners and nationals in the access to the political scene. The human equality is essential to the democratic principles, which the contemporary seems to value so much.
voting rights would not mean including them in 'minor decisions' but instead making them accountable for major policy decisions which may have a significant bearing on the society in the future; a society which the foreign workers may never be able to call as their own (we all are aware of how deep rooted nationalistic tendencies can be, irrespective of the amount of leverages given in the host country). Secondly, equality which the proposition seems so vehement to achieve, can be attained through varied other means, most of them would never include awarding of voting rights. Peace will not be hampered as long as you keep the working class happy, don't make them a subject of undue exploitation and treat them as aliens not belonging to their sphere. Voting rights, on the other hand, may hamper the whole peace equation which the proposition are so intently espousing. What if, in the process of making the foreign workers comfortable and at home, we end up igniting our own workforce? What if the reverse discrimination principle takes roots within our own people? What if they revolt on the basis of minority being favoured over the majority nationals? It would lead to an overall decimation of our local industrial and labour force which is inimical to any country's economic, social and political interests.
We totally agree on the point that a foreign workforce is essential for any country's economy; however our basic stand remains that should they be given a higher pedestal than our local workers? And a higher pedestal it sure will be, if this voting rights question is affirmed in the positive by any government.
Hence the opposition stands firm on the ground that integration with the society, making them feel safer in a different place, securing their interests are all legitimate demands and can very well be incorporated, but so far as governance issues are concerned, lets keep these cocooned from foreigners.
Economic Benefits – A Win-Win Proposal
Foreign workers have always been vulnerable to exploitation because they lack the rights of recognized citizens. Offering them a sanctioned place in the social and political fabric of their communities will no doubt go far to encouraging them to leave behind the rights and privileges of national citizenship in order to fill the demands of global job markets. This works as a double benefit for the countries that welcome them, by improving the economy and creating more jobs.
It is important to be clear that foreign workers are not “taking jobs” from national workers, because hiring laws require the companies hiring them to demonstrate that national workers with appropriate skills are not available for such jobs.
With the help of the skilled and motivated workers, businesses will grow. Business growth is desirable because it ultimately creates more openings for native workers as well as broader opportunities in general.
Rather than “taking jobs”, foreign workers are a valuable resource. They fill gaps in the market, and have the potential to create more jobs in the long term.
By offering foreign workers a legitimized place in society, we recognize the value of their skills, the important role they play, provide insurance against exploitation, and encourage their continued participation in markets where they are needed.
The reason for granting jobs to foreigners is not as the proposition puts it, "to fill the demands of the global job markets." It is done because in a capitalist economy cheap labour is a boon. An Asian, for example, will be willing to do the same work for a fraction of the salary. This is why they are hired so easily and in such large numbers.
Now if voting rights are added to the benefits given to immigrants and foreigners, this will encourage even more immigration, thereby leading to further loss of jobs for natives. The proposition makes the argument that "hiring laws require the companies hiring them to demonstrate that national workers with appropriate skill are not available for such jobs". Does this mean that every foreign software engineer or human resource manager who is hired abroad possess some skill that domestic workers do not? The notion is absurd.
Currently there are a large number of people living in nations other than their own. They are living , working and thriving. They continue to live because there is a certain motivation to continue doing so. What is this motivation? The search for a better life. If they are enjoying this better life without voting rights then where does the problem come in at all? In the opinion of the opposition it is an unnecessary move that will have no benefit, but possible harm might befall the nation.
Counter-Counterpoint: Social Stability + Economic Benefits
Opposition mentioned why foreigners go overseas to work. However, the workers pick fruit not for profit alone, but for better conditions than at home.
We all believe that it is unacceptable to take exploit humans. In order to protect the socially vulnerable workers, we must go beyond offering theoretical rights and empower them to look after themselves.
After all, they fill in the unattractive jobs to sustain private businesses like hotels. Skillful ones fill the high sectors that boost the host’s economy and reduce unemployment rate. Foreign workers bring a wide range of skills and experiences, and knowledge about different markets around the world. Keppel and SembCorp for instance, hire 20,000 people. These jobs wouldn’t exist without the foreign workers, and vice versa. [[http://barangaysingapore.com/immigration/singapore-needs-more-foreign-workers-in-order-to-grow/]]
Many who work overseas are frustrated with limited rights and little interaction in the society. The Opposition said the West enjoys flows of highly skilled Indian workers; but this won’t be true forever with India’s economic growth as the Indian workers prefer home with full rights to overseas where their voices are unheard
The Opposition then misconstrues that foreign workers would only vouch for their economic profits. However, it doesn’t matter if the workers want to discuss social issues. The point of giving them suffrage is to sanction their value by granting civil rights.
Our issue is not whether or not the foreign workers can win the elections. We should focus on how the workers need a voice in issues directly affecting their lives. This is like young Helen Keller struggling to communicate with her parents
Foreign workers, as the Opposition kindly noted, are a minority. Illegal and legal immigrants deplete more resources than foreign worke
Workers surely go for the profit and not the fruit as the same will be available in their country as well. No one would spend money to go abroad and work unless remuneration issue is involved.
The proposition pointlessly talks about "empowering the workers to look after themselves". Even after granting the suffrage if the foreign workers have to look after themselves, then what is the use of granting suffrage? The government cannot shirk off its responsibility of providing security by granting suffrage and still asking people to look after them.
The proposition has nowhere tried to explain as to how the issue of granting suffrage to foreign workers will help. It is out of proportion what the proposition is trying to mean by citing the issue of the foreign workforce. True that the foreign workers bring wide range of skill and experience with them but how is it related to voting rights? The proposition is clueless regarding the after-effects of granting voting rights which is the inherent say of a citizen.
Counter-Counterpoint: Human Exploitation + Global Equality
They attempted to attack our speech by saying that voting rights will not lead to equality and that there are other means to achieve equality. However, they didn’t provide other ways to achieve this. They have also claimed that we need to keep the workforce happy. By providing foreign workers- a part of the workforce- with voting rights, we will make them happy and include them in small decision making. Once again, Prop solves for Opp’s avocations.
Opp stated that national sovereignty will be hurt by voting rights. Let us clear the fact that we are talking about local voting rights, not federal. This means that the things that affect the community, not the overall society will be voted by foreign workers. Lastly, we aren’t putting foreign workers “on a higher pedestal” because citizens get more benefits still, including federal voting rights.
In response to opp’s question, we would like to state that yes, we do believe that the resolution will ensure better rights for Mexicans in Texas. They have conceded the fact that their voices are not being heard in the SQ, yet haven’t explained why voting rights will not fix this, merely addressing a claim against our point with no substantiation. If these minorities such as the Mexicans were a part of the voting population, they can express their opinions and elect mayors that they believe will help ensure their rights. Having a say and a choice in how they want to be treated, better rights are ensured since they at least have freedom of choice.
Firstly, the governments of countries should stop racial profiling of people from Asia and Middle East and stop eying them through the prism of suspicion. The racist attacks directed against the foreign people should stop and the government should take stern action against the perpetrators of these attacks. This will make the foreign workers content and instill a sense of belonging since they would be sure that the government of that country is taking steps to help them even though they are not natives. If common prudence were to prevail, a foreign worker would first expect that there is no anti-foreign propaganda and that he is not tortured at the hands of the natives. The issue of Indian students being attacked in Australia and other European nations has had racist angles. The proposition should understand the ground realities rather than assuming that “by providing foreign workers - with voting rights - we will make them happy”. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/indians-abroad/Another-Indian-student-attacked-in-Australia/articleshow/4589199.cms
Local election results are keenly watched in India and abroad as they are directly equated to the progress of the nation. The success/failure of the political parties in the local elections provides a valuable insight to the national political field. The proposition ought to study the importance of local elections rather than undermining their importance. In India, the Local Government is further subdivided into two: Panchayats in rural areas and Municipalities in urban areas. They possess authority to tax and enact laws. Given the huge population of people in states and districts in a country like India, these laws have a substantial effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government
Proposition Summary + Conclusion
Prop explained that suffrage for FW will help maintain social stability, decrease human exploitation, enhance global equality, and benefit the economy. Violent protests had become a weapon against exploitation. The resolution will reduce social imbalance in SQ by including FW’s voices in the community. Suffrage will give them a voice in society to prevent more abuses and help different cultures understand each other and interact. FW fill the unattractive yet keystone jobs. Some also take up high skilled jobs that citizens can’t. This benefits the economy by creating more jobs.
When coming to a decision in a debate, we must consider what’s right and most sensible. In SQ, FW are exploited because they don’t have a voice or any clue how to claim their rights. In fact, some are fired for standing up for their rights, but don’t know how to deal with it; this leads to social instability like France, where violent protests are used to alert the society. FW can avoid these if they had a voice and the right tools. Giving FW suffrage wouldn’t cause hatred among natives, for many of them do understand FW’s situation and their contribution to the society.
Economic imbalance in SQ can be solved by suffrage, offering FW legitimized places in society, welcome their skills and existence, provide insurance against exploitation, and encourage participation in markets where they’re needed. This encourages FW to fill demands of global job markets in foreign states. In the utilitarian aspect, this works as a double benefit for the host nation since the FW improve the economy by filling job gaps while creating more jobs as the economy grows.
Thus suffrage is not simply an inherent say of a native. It’s a healthy way of communication in democratic society. Also, we don’t have to worry about national sovereignty since local elections are only parochial. Other disads such as political chaos or competitions in resources are insignificant as the Opp conceded that FWs are only a minority, and this shouldn’t dissuade us from creating a better society.
The resolution is a positive step towards global peace and prosperity. It ultimately stops exploitation, violent protests and promotes cultural interaction, while improving the economy and increasing employment rates. Hence, passing this resolution is not only a sensible thing, but also the right thing to do.
Suffrage is a serious matter; don’t make a mockery of it
As Montesquieu says the law should be determined by the characteristics of a nation so that they should be in sync with the climate of each country, to the quality of soil, main occupation of the people and religion. Historical and economical factors are important. Hence it is aptly clear that foreigners, who are only a diminutive section of the society, do not identify themselves with all these characteristics.
The proposition mentions that there is distinction between rights of nationality and those of community citizenship, to which the opposition questions as to how community citizenship will be ensured as national citizenship is easily ensured. In most part of the world on the basis of national citizenship you get your local state citizenship that too it happens only in federal structures not in unitary structures. There is nothing such as “community citizenship”.
On the point of affirming the universality of human rights it will be kind of proposition to specifically makes us understand as to how by assuring right to vote will make us in sync with universality of human rights. It is important to recognize that it is not within the scope of the resolution.
Giving of suffrage will be effective if all nations follow it; which cannot feasibly be done. If nation A gives foreigners of nation B this right and nation B doesn’t give the same to foreigners of A in B, then relations between the two are bound to be affect
We do concede that the title "community citizenship" does not exist, but the concept does. Those foreign workers can be regarded as "community citizens" because they form the society and contribute to the community, as the Opposition acknowledged that "a foreign workforce is essential for any country's economy." Many countries offer legally-protected rights to foreign workers from countries that do not offer similar protection to workers, as many of them do not recruit foreign workers. This is not about reciprocity; it is about supply and demand. If we recruit foreign workers because we feel the need to, then we have the moral responsibility to protect them, as well as the practical motivation to attract them. Thus we the Proposition believe that granting suffrage to foreign workers, while also acknowledging that this would not implement definite global equality, but take a step toward the goal; the goal that we believe the Opposition should bear in mind too.
nationals who come without legal work permit and stay in the country and work there, hamoer the interest of the citizens of the country in terms of job employment. And then
they want voting rights to have a better say in the community! Clearly if we follow the proposition's proposal, the already increasing problem of immigration which has literally plagued the developed and semi-developed countries would then become a full fledged problem. If we grant them a path to citizenship and hence ensuring that right to vote is also guaranteed, following problems are bound to arise:
a) it grants amnesty to criminals
b) it disrespects all the legal immigrants who are still waiting for a legitimate citizenship
c) legalized aliens are unlikely to be patriotic
Therefore giving right to vote whether it be local election or national elections to foreign nationals specially in case of immigrants is disrespect to all the citizens of that particular
country who have actually earned their citizenship rather than illegal immigrants who seek a short cut to land of opportunity. By providing them right to vote it will hamper national interest as they will misuse their votes and create a state of political turmoil in the country.
Suggesting that granting foreign workers the right to vote in local elections is linked to granting amnesty to criminals is absurd. We need to acknowledge that foreign workers have legally obtained temporary work visas in a country. As we are discussing people who have entered a country legally, criminal activity is therefore not an issue.
Is patriotism necessary to vote in local elections? Certainly, foreign workers want a voice in the community. The issues for which their votes would be casted directly link to their lives, not the country as a whole. Most of the time, foreign workers are alienated from the community. Giving them a vote in local elections would give them a voice for the issues that directly affect them. Granting foreign workers suffrage does not create a “short cut top the land of opportunity”. It creates a sense of belonging and equality with their coworkers; creating peace in the workspace and in the country as a whole.
Foreign workers’ goal is not to create “a state of political turmoil in the country”. Even if they were able to do so (which they are not, as it is only local elections they are allowed to vote), where would the desire come from? People who are working in a foreign country do so since they have chosen to be there. Whether it is temporary or permanent the country in which they are working in is their home.
Counter-Counterpoint: Suffrage is a serious issue; don’t make a mockery of it
How can the proposition assume that only by giving voting rights the interest of the foreign workers are going to be protected? Each State strives to secure the rights of the immigrant workers by legislations and bilateral agreements. Going by the proposition’s take if voting rights are granted, no State would ever welcome any foreign workers as the politics of the local elections would gain an international outlook which could fare disastrous results. Local elections are to be kept out of the purview of the international hold.
The proposition again concedes its point by saying that it is about supply and demand. Going by this it would seriously be a mockery of the pious institution of suffrage. One year the workers will come, exercise voting rights, and exit next year. Later, more workers will come, exercise their right and exit. It would be like adding in the resume that I have exercised my voting rights in these many countries and hence I have much more exposure. If the demand and supply theory of the proposition is taken into account, then in case of excess inflow, the locals would reduce in percentage which will never be taken in a positive sense. It would lead to civil strife and hampering of the relations between the countries.
Firstly, we have proven theoretical rights on documents are not enough to protect the foreign workers from being exploited. Secondly we ask, how does preventing exploitation which leads to social instability have a negative effect on a state’s soft-power?
Their locals and foreigners ratio argument can be easily torn down by the fact that hiring laws prevent countries from “senselessly” inviting a wave of foreign workers, and if a state wants to bring in foreign workers, it needs to prove that no other nationals can do the job that needs to be filled. However, if the odd scenario of foreigners overpowering the locals was to happen, it would not cause civil strife or hamper the relations between countries. It would be another step towards global peace because more foreigners mean more understanding of diverse cultures. With this we can prevent discrimination and misunderstanding of cultures in the world.
Lastly, we would like to point out that the opposition failed to attack our rebuttals for their 2nd contention, thus our counter-arguments still stand, and their whole arguments on illegal immigration basically falls.
The burden of proof on the proposition was to prove the following points which are central to the basic theme of the debate, yet through the entire length of the debate the proposition has not dealt with them significantly and thus have failed to hit upon the core issues. The issues left unattended by the proposition are:
(a) The need for granting such voting rights?
(b) How would suffrage bring stability in the absence of security?
(c) How local elections do not have an impact on the national political scene?
(d) Why will the natives welcome such a move and not lead a civil strife?
(e) Why such a measure will not lead to encouraging illegal immigration?
(f) How is voting by foreign workers part of the basic human right?
(g) What is the rationale of deliberating on "community rights" without defining the same?
The opposition maintains its arguments and contends there would be no use of granting voting rights to the foreigners if the after-effects such as civil strife are overlooked. Further, stability can never be maintained in the absence of security. And if the basic security is not provided to the foreign workers it would be absurd to think that these foreign workers would want to live in the country just because they can vote. No foreigner would fancy the prospect of being abused while standing to cast the ballot. The foreign workers migrate for reaping the profits because the same is not available to them in their own country. Hence they will only bother about the money and the basic security levels.
For the simple reason that foreigners do not identify with the soul and culture of the the country, they do not deserve an equal footing with the natives on the point of voting rights. "The granting of such rights to the foreign workers will devalue and dilute the institution of citizenship." The sanctity of suffrage, which is the exclusive domain of the citizens, should be maintained and upheld.