The United States has always been peopled by the world - by native peoples who lived here when the first European settlers arrived, by Africans who were brought here against their will as slaves, by those who came voluntarily, and by those who fled oppression and terror at home.
Immigration tripled following the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, as people from Africa, Asia, and the Americas became more than 90% of the foreign-born people coming to this country. NPR journalist Tom Gjelten (2015) calls the United States "a nation of nations."
The United States now has more immigrants than any other country in the world, reports the Pew Research Center - some 40 million people or about 14% of the nation's total population. But immigration is a complex and contentious political issue. Read Why Is Immigration Such a Hot-Button Issue? from the St. Mary's College Newsletter to get a sense of the wide range of viewpoints about immigration. Some commentators want to provide more opportunities for immigration; others want to restrict immigration even more drastically.
Focusing on news and current events, this activity asks you to compare and contrast different media treatments of immigration and present your findings to a school or local newspaper.
Activity: Evaluate the News From All Sides About Immigration
- In groups of 3, go to the All Sides Immigration Issue webpage and select one member in the group to read an article from "News from the Left," one member to read an article from "News from the Center," and one member to read an article from "News from the Right."
- Then, collaboratively as a group, write a letter to your school or local newspaper that reveals what you found during your critical evaluation of left-leaning, center-leaning, and right-leaning news articles and provides tips for the readers of your article to critically evaluate news about immigration.
Designing for Learning: Student-Created Activity Example
Immigration in the News by Viviana Sebastiano, Kathleen Boulton, Grace Sherwood
Connecting to the Standards
- Massachusetts Civics & Government Standards
- Explain the different ways one becomes a citizen of the United States. (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [8.T4.1]
- ISTE Standards
- Knowledge Constructor
- 3b: Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
- Creative Communicator
- 6d: Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for the intended audiences.
- Global Collaborator
- 7b: Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
- 7c: Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.
- DLCS Standards
- Interpersonal and Societal Impact (CAS.c)
- Collaboration and Communication (DTC.b)
- Research (DTC.c)
- English Language Arts > History/Social Studies Common Core Standards