Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive April 24, 2013
What are your thoughts on the 2013 Immigration Reform Proposal?
By: Greg Timmons
Social Studies, U.S. Government, Language Arts, current events
- Opening Activity – 10 minutes
- Activity 2: Video News Segment – One class period (less if assigned as homework)
- Activity 3: Writing Your Congressional Representative – One to two class periods
- Assess their understanding of facts connected with immigration in the United States
- Describe the basic outline of the 2013 immigration reform proposal
- Analyze the pros and cons of the 2013 immigration reform proposal
- Formulate a summary statement either supporting or rejecting the 2013 immigration reform proposal in a letter to their Congressional representative
For several years, Congress has been struggling with the issue of immigration. After the 2012 election, it became apparent to members of the Republican Party that its past policies on immigration were not favorable to many Latino voters. In January 2013, a bipartisan effort at immigration reform began to gain momentum. By March of that year, a proposal for a legislative bill had been developed by an ad hoc committee of eight senators, known as the “Gang of Eight.”
- Open up the class with some facts on immigration in the United States. Present these on an overhead or front board:
- More immigrants in the United States have advanced degrees than American citizens.
- 75 percent of the immigrants in the United States are here legally.
- Undocumented workers paid $11.2 billion in taxes in 2010. About half of all undocumented workers pay federal income taxes and nearly all pay sales taxes.
- 86 percent of the undocumented immigrants have been living in the U.S. for seven years or longer.
- There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Four million children of undocumented immigrants were born in the United States.
- Discuss the following with the class:
- What surprised about these statistics?
- What costs or benefits to the United States do you see in these statistics?
- What can you imply from the facts that 86 percent of undocumented immigrants have been living in the United States for seven years or longer?
- What problems do you see for the four million children born to undocumented immigrants if harsh immigration policies are imposed?
Video News Segment
In this activity, students will view a news story from the PBS NewsHour and complete graphic organizer. They will then discuss the news story.
- Divide the class into small groups of 3-5 students.
- Distribute the student handout, “Congress Moves on Immigration Reform” to all students.
- Have students view the video taking notes on their graphic organizer.
- After students have finished viewing the news story and taken their notes, bring the class together and summarize the activity by having students address these questions:
- Do you think undocumented workers who have been in the U.S. for a certain length of time should be able to apply for U.S. citizenship? Why or why not?
- If you think they should be able to apply for U.S. citizenship, how long should they live in the U.S. before applying?
- What are the costs and benefits of allowing large numbers of both high- and low-skilled immigrant workers to enter the country?
- How have politics and the desire to be elected to office played a role in the recent immigration policy push? Do you think this is a good reason? Do you think Republican support for this proposal will encourage Latinos to vote for Republican candidates in the next major election? Why or why not?
Write to your Congressional Representative
In this activity, students will complete research on the ideas behind the proposed immigration reform bill, developed by the “Gang of Eight Senators.” Students will then formulate a position, and summarize their views in a letter to their Congressional Representative that either supports or rejects the ideas behind the reform bill.
- Place students in small groups and distribute the handout “Expressing Your Thoughts on the Immigration Reform Proposal.”
- Provide time for students to conduct their research and complete the graphic organizer. (This could be completed as homework.) For more information on the bipartisan immigration reform proposal have students go to C-Span Copy of Bipartisan Framework proposal.
- After students complete their research, have them meet in small groups to review their findings.
- Individually, or in their small groups, have them formulate a letter to their Congressional Representatives in a persuasive style either advocating or rejecting the immigration reform proposal. In their letter, they should include information from their video viewing graphic organizer, their research, and class discussions.
Find your Representative here and/or here.
- Active participation during discussions and activities.
- Students can turn in their notes from their viewing of the PBS NewsHour news segment.
- Evaluate students’ Congressional letter using the suggested rubric provided at the end of this lesson or your own assessment tool.
As the immigration reform bill makes its way through Congress, have students follow along with NewsHour stories and document how the bill changes as it moves through the Senate and House of Representatives. Periodically, have them assess the changes and compare these with their initial views on the reform proposal.
The Materials You Need
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- Internet Connection
- Pen, Paper, Pencils
- Student Handouts
- PBS NewsHour “Obama Pushes for Immigration Reform”
- PBS NewsHour “Gang of Eight Senators Fine-tune Details of Immigration Reform Bill
- PBS NewsHour “The Evolving Immigration Debate: Increased Border Security Is ‘Window Dressing,’ Says Border Patrol Union”
- The New York Times “G.O.P. Opposition to the Immigration Law is Failing Away
- The Washington Post “Wrong Assumptions about the GOP and Immigration Reform”
Additional Resources for Teachers
Common Core Standards
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Relevant National Standards:
McRel Compendium of K-12 Standards Addressed:
- RH.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
- RH.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
- RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
- RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
- SL.7-12.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 7-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
- W.7-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Common Core Standards
Literacy in History/Social Studies,
Science and Technical Subjects
Speaking and Listening
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