ANDRE AND TAMAR HAVE JUST FINISHED THEIR U.S. HISTORY PROJECT ON IMMIGRATION.
It was Andre’s idea to create a “Welcome to the Community” packet to give to new students and their families when they arrive in the community from another country. Andre is proud of the welcome packet, and he thinks it will be very useful for new families. But Tamar is less certain. Her grandparents immigrated when they were younger, and she heard many stories about the discrimination they faced from people who didn’t think belonged in America.
Tamar suggests adding a section on some of the challenges immigrants might face, explaining not just the process of starting out in a new country, but also some of the ways that people in America talk to and about immigrants and immigration. At first, Andre isn’t sure it’s necessary. But then Tamar pulls out her phone and scrolls through the headlines. Lots of people, it seems, are mad about immigration. Some of the headlines even blame bad things that happen on immigrants. There are politicians saying that immigrants are taking resources, like jobs and health care, that should belong to Americans–but they really mean people who were born in the United States.
Andre begins to wonder, how can this be? And then Andre remembers when his neighbors from Ecuador, the Sanchezes, found an angry note on their car, and how upset and unwelcome it made them feel. Mr. Sanchez told Andre how painful it was to realize that sometimes, people don’t always embrace new things or people who are different. Andre starts to think about the daily experiences of an immigrant in another country. Tamar can see Andre is beginning to understand, “I thought America was a melting pot of people and cultures from all over the world. Why do some people think immigration is wrong?”
The U.S. has a process for people who want to immigrate to the United States. This process can be long, complicated, and costly, so some families try to find other ways to enter the country. Using the primary sources, explore whether or not you think the United States is truly welcoming to immigrants. Has this changed over time? What evidence helps support your opinion? Make your case.
Have your students take this challenge and make their case! To begin, send your students to this website with this challenge’s code.
An immigrant is a person who comes to a country to live there.
Discrimination is unfair treatment of people based on something like race, gender, or age.