Immigration Reform

Immigration has been a much-discussed issue throughout the election cycle, with President Trump making frequent promises of reform during his term. But how does this issue affect young people? In addition to the millions of young immigrants covered by President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) directive, lawmakers also have to consider the thousands of the unaccompanied minors that fled from Central America without any parental assistance. Use this module to learn about how today’s young immigrants are impacted by immigration laws.


America’s Immigration Battle By the Numbers

What It's Like To Be College-Bound And Worried About Your Immigration Status

Content Objectives

In this module, students will learn about how immigration affects young people. They will later debate their peers by answering the question: Are the current immigration laws effective for immigrant youth? 

Step 1: Investigate

Students are provided with three pieces of news media to teach them about different aspects of immigration, from undocumented high school students to young unaccompanied minors immigrating to the U.S. from Central America. 

Step 2: Contemplate

Students will use media literacy questions to critically engage with news by analyzing it, searching for bias, and thinking about what perspectives are missing.

Step 3: Debate

Students will engage their peers in an evidence-based debate using the media they analyzed and synthesized from steps 1 and 2.

Extra resources for debates and deeper dives are available in the "Think Deeper" tab. This activity should take one to two 45 minute class periods.

The Main Idea

America’s Immigration Battle By the Numbers
FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowships | October 21, 2015 | Digital Report
1000 words 

An article about the state of immigration in the United States under the Obama administration, broken down by important figures.

  • When Congress begins debating about immigration reform, politicians will be using some key figures to make their arguments, some of which are listed below.
  • 11.3 million undocumented immigrants were living the United States in 2014.
  • DACA (Deferred Action for Early Arrivals) protects about 5 million people deportation.
  • Undocumented immigrants contribute 11.84 billion dollars or 8% to state and local taxes.

Wave of child migrants pose challenges for Florida schools 
PBS NewsHour | September 26, 2014 | Video
5:19 minutes 

A video report about the increase in child migrants from Central America is impacting a Florida school.

  • More than 70 children enrolled in the Riverside Elementary School as a part of the wave of children escaping gang violence in Central America.
  • While all teachers in the school know how to teach English as a Second Language, the school is running out of space for all of the extra students.
  • Miami Dade Superintendent says that the federal grants that were allocated to help the children aren't enough to fully support them.

What It's Like To Be College-Bound And Worried About Your Immigration Status
NPR | August 8, 2016 | Article
1000 words 

An interview with two undocumented students who decided to publicly share their immigration status while graduating from high school.

  • This interview gave readers a first-hand account of the experience of being an undocumented immigrant.
  • Students said the worst thing about being undocumented was seeing their parents getting underpaid and interacting with people attacking them online because of their immigration status, which they described as different than in-person where they don't get any harassment.
  • Martinez, who got accepted into Yale, describes not being able to work to contribute to her own tuition payment.
  • Both students worry about separation from their families and becoming a burden because of their inability to work and pay their tuitions.
  • Both students realized that being undocumented made them more vocal and empathetic.

Key Terms

Look out for these important keywords in the news stories. Discuss the definitions with your classroom and see how they affect the understanding of the story. 

  • Undocumented 
  • Migrant 
  • Immigrant 
  • DACA (Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals) 


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Immigration Reform

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