Chapter 7 Activity: Immigration

1.  Ask your students to bring to class a newspaper article that relates to the topic of immigration and immigrants.  Based on that article, how do they think attitudes towards immigrants today compare to 19th century attitudes?  Are they similar?  Different?  Why? 

Tell the students to think like newspaper editors.  What would they like to tell the public about the issue of immigration? They should each write an editorial of less than one page and read it to the class.  

2.  Topic for a debate:

Should undocumented workers be allowed to remain permanently in this country or should they be forced to leave? 

Read the debate topic to the class.  Ask those students who believe they should be allowed to stay in the country to move to one side of the room.  Those who think they should be forced to leave should move to the other side of the room.  Those with no opinion should remain seated.

Then randomly divide the class in two.  One group should conduct research and make the case that undocumented workers should be allowed to remain permanently.  The other side should research arguments about why they should be forced to leave. 

Tell each group they have to come up with at least seven specific arguments which they will present to the class. 

After each side makes its presentation, ask the entire class which side do you support now?  You can again have them move to one side of the room or the other.  Has any student changed his or her position?  What did the students learn that surprised them? 

Copyright 2006, ACLU of Massachusetts