Grace attended James Madison University has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school social studies in several states around the country.
Immigration in the United States
Culture in the United States is often referred to as a ''melting pot'' because it is a blend of so many different cultures coming together. This is thanks to the legacy of immigration in the country. After discussing immigration with your middle and high school students, use these questions to help them think critically about the topic. The questions are broken down into sections on historic and modern immigration in the country. Use whichever section fits what your students have learned (or both!).
The History of Immigration in the United States
- A flaw of the melting plot analogy is that it leads people to believe that distinct elements of cultures are lost to an overall greater culture. Can you think of a better analogy to describe immigration in the United States - one that shows the U.S. culture is a blend of others, but that still gives credit to the original elements of the cultures?
- In regards to immigration, there have been several historical events that most people in the country look back on with embarrassment. Of these, what stands out to you the most? Why?
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ''The United States should have the most liberal immigration policy in the world. After all, almost every citizen can trace his or her heritage to immigrants.'' Please be prepared to explain your answer.
- How have different world events and conflicts shaped immigration policy in the United States? Think of a few specific examples to provide support for your answer.
- What is the best way to explain the legacy of Ellis Island to someone who has never heard of it before? What would you want them to walk away remembering?
- Historically speaking, what U.S. immigration trends have stayed the same over time? What has changed? Using what you know about culture and politics in the United States, what makes the country such an attractive place for immigrants to move to?
Current Events: Immigration in the United States
- What is U.S. immigration policy today? What is your opinion on this? Do we let too many, too few or just the right amount of immigrants into the country? Justify your answer.
- Do you think that the mistakes the country has made in the past (think about exclusion acts and treatment of new immigrants) currently influence the government's stance on immigration? What about an ordinary person's position on immigration?
- When people talk about immigration today, their thoughts usually go to the border with Mexico. Why is this border in the news so often? What are the problems / issues? What do you think the country should do going forward?
- Shortly after becoming president, Donald Trump issued Executive order 13769, which banned immigration from many Muslim countries, decreased the number of refugees allowed into the country and denied entry to Syrian refugees. This order was later replaced by Executive Order 13780, which amended some of the restrictions. What is your opinion on this order? Does it set a precedent - good or bad?
- Read the following quote from George Washington: ''The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respected Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges…'' How have things changed since his time? What do you think Washington would say about our immigration policy in America today?
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