Illegal Immigration Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping students learn about illegal immigration. Students will answer questions about a text and summarize important issues using charts and graphs.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson on illegal immigration, students will be able to:

  • Cite textual evidence when answering questions about the text.
  • Summarize the issues surrounding illegal immigration.
  • Create graphs and charts that visually describe immigration trends.


90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


  • alien
  • birthright citizenship
  • border security
  • Communist
  • deportation
  • descendants
  • ethnic
  • expiration
  • foreign exchange student
  • fugitives
  • Great Depression
  • immigration
  • inspection
  • open immigration
  • quota system
  • repealed
  • security checkpoints
  • unauthorized
  • undocumented
  • visa


  • Copies of the worksheet
  • Copies of the lesson
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Access to research materials
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Testimonies of undocumented immigrants

Reading & Discussion Questions

  • Preview vocabulary with students before reading the lesson.
  • Read Illegal Immigration: Definition & Facts as a class, and discuss the following questions:
    • What are immigrants?
    • Turn and talk: Discuss how your family first arrived in the United States.
    • Why was open immigration encouraged in the 1800s?
    • Describe the quota system of the early 1900s. Why do you think it was abandoned?
    • What happened to immigration rates during the Great Depression?
    • What caused the increase in illegal immigration from Mexico, Central America, and South America?
    • What are some ways that people come to the United States illegally?
    • How have the demographics of undocumented immigrants in the United States changed in recent history?
    • Where do most undocumented immigrants come from?
    • Why is it important to note that most undocumented immigrants have been in the United States for many years?
    • What is birthright citizenship?
    • What is the primary role of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?
    • How is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) different from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)?
  • Ask if there are any questions; then give the students the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.
  • Check the answers as a class.


Fact Sheets

Materials: Copies of lesson, paper, pens, access to research materials, chart paper, markers, testimonies of undocumented immigrants

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