11th Grade New York

Immigration

The goal of this inquiry is to help students develop their thinking in terms of continuity and change through learning about US immigration policy actions and their effects over time. By examining whether there is anything new about current immigration policy debates, students compare and contrast the discourse around immigration at three key moments in US history—the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Immigration Act of 1924, and the Immigration Act of 1965—with the current immigration policy. Students need to develop a deep understanding of each of the three policies in order to write a thoughtful argument that analyzes continuities and changes in perceptions of and policies regarding immigration throughout the post–Civil War period of US history.

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Compelling Question:

Is Anything New about Today’s Immigration Policy Debate?

Staging the Question: Examine political cartoons that address the current debate about immigration policy.
1

Supporting Question What is the current debate about immigration policy?

Formative Task Research the current debate about immigration policy and create a T-chart listing different arguments on two sides of an immigration policy issue.

Sources Source A: Suggested websites for student research

2

Supporting Question What factors have shaped US immigration policy arguments over time?

Formative Task Write a paragraph using evidence from the sources that compares and contrasts the arguments made in support of three historical approaches to immigration policy.

Sources Source A: Excerpt from a speech by Horace Davis
Source B: “America of the Melting Pot Comes to an End”
Source C: Excerpt from a speech by President Lyndon Johnson

3

Supporting Question How has the US immigration system changed over time?

Formative Task Write a paragraph using evidence from the sources that compares and contrasts the systems created by three historical approaches to immigration policy.

Sources Source A: Excerpt from ”Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)”
Source B: Excerpt from “The Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act)”
Source C: Excerpt from “Effects of the Immigration Act of 1965 on Selected Population Characteristics of Immigrants to the United States”

4

Supporting Question How has US immigration policy been criticized over time?

Formative Task Write a paragraph using evidence from the sources that compares and contrasts the arguments made in opposition to three historical approaches to immigration policy.

Sources Source A: Political cartoon, “The Americanese Wall–as Congressman Burnett Would Build It“
Source B: Excerpt from a speech by Meyer Jacobstein
Source C: “1965 Immigration Law Changed Face of America”

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Is there anything new about today’s immigration policy debates? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that addresses the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Assemble a series of political cartoons that represent the similarities and/or differences in arguments that are made about immigration policy and how those arguments are presented.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Survey the local community’s views of current immigration policy.
Assess: Compile the survey results and discuss the community’s views of current immigration policy.
Act: Publish the survey results and commentary along with a list of resources that community members can access to learn more about the current immigration policy debate.