What Is An American?
The attached lesson provides a historic timeline of immigration with a backdrop of Grant Park in Chicago and a massive immigration rally staged there last May. It also includes four primary documents: synopses of the 1924 Comprehensive Immigration Law and the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, a op-ed piece written by Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and a summary of the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform proposal set to be considered by Congress this spring and summer. The lesson itself is a cooperative learning activity presented in seminar format where group members read one of the aforementioned articles, share these with the group, and begin discussing the specific elements active in the current immigration debate. Groups are ultimately asked to construct their own model policies.
We put our teacher attendees up to this task and a plethora of workable policies emerged. Beyond the guest worker, amnesty, and border security measures present in most congressional proposals, our group suggested the ongoing provision of human services to immigrants as they proceed down the path toward citizenship, the establishment of safety centers for illegal immigrants, steps to bolster foreign economies (poor conditions often spur emigration), and increased funding for cultural education.
These productive ideas and strong sentiments should be shared with our policymakers as they ponder monumental reform. We recommend just this in our ideas for follow-up activities tied to the lesson: a letter-writing campaign directed at Congress.
The issue is again bubbling to the surface with yesterday's shopping mall raid in the Chicago area and another march scheduled for May 1st. President Bush has placed his stake in the ground and urged congressional action on the issue this year, and both houses of Congress have obliged by scheduling hearings. There is no better lesson in democracy than the movement unfolding before our very eyes. What will you do to make your voice heard?
P.S. Should you desire a hard copy of the lesson, drop me a line at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.