Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.
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.
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.
- birthright citizenship
- border security
- foreign exchange student
- Great Depression
- open immigration
- quota system
- security checkpoints
- Copies of the worksheet
- Copies of the lesson
- Access to research materials
- Chart paper
- 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.
Materials: Copies of lesson, paper, pens, access to research materials, chart paper, markers, testimonies of undocumented immigrants
- Have students discuss definitions, synonyms, and/or antonyms for each of the vocabulary words with a partner. Students will use a combination of context clues and research materials to develop an understanding of each word.
- Have students research ICE, CBP, and USCIS. Create a chart that compares the roles and functions of ICE, CBP, and USCIS. Discuss why 3 separate organizations are needed.
- Divide students into small groups. Provide each group with the testimony of an undocumented immigrant. Be sure to include people from different parts of the world who came to the United States to escape crime, economic hardship, and war, as well as the stories of DREAMers.
- Have students discuss:
- What extenuating circumstances led to illegal immigration?
- What advice would you give this person?
- What do you think the U.S. response should be in this person's situation? Why?
- Allow each group the opportunity to share the main points of their discussion with the rest of the class.
- Have each student research and create a fact sheet about illegal immigration that supports their opinion on how the United States should respond to undocumented people. The paper should include:
- A graph created from a set of pertinent data about immigration, such as what percentage of undocumented immigrants are DREAMers or how the population of illegal immigrants has changed over time.
- A relevant quote from an undocumented immigrant.
- 5 things the student learned about illegal immigration from their research.
- Challenges with legal immigration that prevent individuals from choosing this route.
- Have students share their fact sheets with their small group.
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