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  • Lesson plan
  • Grades 11-12,
  • Grades 9-10

The Infiltrators: Examinations of Immigrant Detainment, Safety, and Strategies for Resistance

Overview

A true story of young immigrants who get detained by U.S. Border Patrol—on purpose—and put in a shadowy for-profit detention center. Marco and Viri are members of a group of radical Dreamers on a mission to stop deportations, and they believe the best place to do that is in detention. In this lesson, students are asked to consider the practices and processes of US immigration policy; including detainment and deportation; treatment of people within detention centers; and issues of privacy and protection.

A Note from Curriculum Creator, Stacia Cedillo

This lesson plan invites us to consider the following questions that are crucial for critically engaged students and citizens: What visions can we create, what hopes can we possess? How do we work with others to communicate the revolutionary urgencies of our time? How can we transform our concepts of citizen and country?

A Note to Teachers

Discussing immigration—and more specifically, deportation—can trigger fear, anxiety, and discomfort for students who are directly impacted by the U.S. immigration and deportation complex. Individual stories and experiences can be a powerful teaching tool, but teachers should be careful to avoid inadvertently singling out or encroaching on the confidential citizenship status of immigrant students and their family members. Teachers should also take steps to avoid re-traumatization around the subject of immigrant detention that is the main focus of this film. This may require having conversations with students impacted by immigrant detention in advance, during, or after the lesson. Laying ground rules for discussion requiring respectful conversation, for instance, explicitly prohibiting bigoted language, is another key responsibility teachers should take to avoid enacting trauma in the classroom.

Subject Areas:

  • Civics and Government
  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts
  • U.S. History
  • Global Studies

Grade Levels: 9-12

Objectives:

In this lesson, students will:

  • Interrogate systems and conditions of detainment, incarceration, and deportation in the US
  • Identify hurdles, contradictions, and shortcomings within the legal framework for non-citizen immigrants seeking protection in the U.S.
  • Understand structural similarities and differences between public and private prisons
  • Examine differing approaches to activism and intervention, considering strategy and impact
  • Articulate opportunities for social change outside the legal framework

Materials:

  • The Infiltrators film clips and equipment on which to show them
  • Paper and writing utensils

Time Needed:

Two 45-minute class periods with optional homework in between.

About the authors

Stacia Cedillo

Stacia Cedillo, M.A., is a former middle school science and social studies teacher. Stacia completed her master’s degree and doctoral coursework in cultural studies in education at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied the role of race in education politics, policy, and ideology. She has worked as a community organizer, campaign volunteer, and policy intern in the Texas Legislature.