In an event free of protest and interruption, an author and a Hispanic leader debated immigration Wednesday night at UF.
Juan Andrade, president of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, debated the issue with Jerome Corsi, co-author of the book "Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America's Borders" and a reporter for WorldNetDaily.com.
Both were paid ,7,250 for their appearances.
About 250 UF students and Gainesville residents attended the debate in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.
Security was tighter after protesters climbed on stage during former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' speech earlier this month. O'Connell Center security staff and rope barriers blocked access to the stage, and signs and bags were not allowed in the room.
Throughout the debate, both speakers emphasized that they were not opponents and agreed on several issues.
Andrade said illegal immigrants were coming to the United States out of necessity, not desire.
"We're coming here because we have to," he said. "There's simply nowhere else to go."
The solution is not persecution, he said. Instead, he argued the United States should spend money to improve infrastructure and social conditions in Latin America.
Meanwhile, Corsi said he welcomed immigrants as long as there was a system of control.
But the current system poses grave security concerns and allows access for terrorists, he said.
He also argued that the inadequate immigration enforcement in the United States is a money-making plan by North American governments and multinational corporations.
The governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States, backed by corporations, will soon merge in a union that will eliminate American sovereignty, he argued.
"My argument is that immigration is really not the issue it appears to be," Corsi said. "The only winners here are the multinational corporations. We the people are the losers of our sovereignty."