SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The topic of immigration is still being vigorously debated.
And here in Missouri, teenagers are getting involved as well.
A week ago, two Parkview High School seniors here in Springfield won the state championship for the Missouri State High School Athletic Association’s Annual State Speech and Debate Tournament for their ideas on immigration.
They told KOLR10 about their ideas, and why young people are getting more and more involved in politics.
“Whenever I found out that me and Emory were the first African Americans to win the policy state championship, it was just kind of a sense of awe and like disbelief, that it hasn’t happened before,” said Andre Swai, a senior at Parkview High School.
“I’ve seen stories about other black teams from other states doing that, and I remember being inspired as a freshman and sophomore thinking oh I can do that someday, and then actually being able to,” said Emory Williams, another senior at Parkview High School.
Swai told KOLR10 why young people are getting more involved in politics, “because our president is extremely appealing to anybody who doesn’t pay attention to politics. You could see a snippet, quote, anything. And you’re immediately like oh I wonder what that guy is saying. So I feel like Donald Trump has really hyper-polarized our nation and made it to where both the left and the right regardless of if they agree with them, they want to know what this extremely polarized individual is stating.”
He said specifically for immigration, young people are easily interested, “it’s really appealing to young people because it’s not as hard as we, it’s not as confusing as people think it is. It’s really simple to understand whenever you just look at the numbers, you understand what’s going on in the system, who’s running it and organizing it.”
They said immigration is a very important subject right now regardless of political beliefs.
They told KOLR10 their idea that got them the state championship title.
“Whenever me and my partner are debating in around and we’re discussing the real world implications of what happens when we let in more immigrants, when we don’t let in more immigrants,”explained Swai, “the consensus is usually we have enough room to let in more immigrants, we just have to make the process more streamlined and efficient.”
“The United States should substantially reduce its restrictions on the legal processes on immigration,” Williams said, “so all that fancy wording just to say we should probably make it easier for immigrants to get into our country legally.”
The next debates are in Milwaukee late May, and in mid-June in Dallas.