Immigration Lesson Plans & Resources: Understanding A Crisis
Overcrowded detention centers, unsanitary conditions and documented abuse by guards have dominated memories of migrants trying to cross the border. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic overshadowing the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the stories of turmoil and desperation have not changed—with devastating consequences following inaction and refusal to protect adults and children from the spread of COVID-19. The conditions have been made worse by DHS’s new practice of “expelling” asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, and other migrants to Mexico and other countries under the guise of a March 20 order and extended on April 20th from the Centers for Disease Control due to COVID-19. For detainees that remain in the US they lack basic necessities like soap, masks and disinfectant; and there is insufficient space for social distancing.
Now, an already tragic crisis at the border deteriorates as the Trump administration ramps up deportations of migrants, many of them unaccompanied children, to their countries of origin in Central and South America. With ICE confirming more than 100 deportation flights in an eight-week period since March 13, 2020, President Trump is endangering, not saving lives by deporting migrants who become sick in custody. At its core, this is xenophobia masquerading as a public health measure, and these deportations could likely to spread the disease in countries ill-suited to deal with a spike in cases.
Everyone deserves a chance to feel safe at home with their family. The need to protect families fleeing gang and domestic violence, extreme poverty, political persecution and more deserve a chance to build a life where they can live and work in peace.
Share My Lesson has curated these immigration lesson plans & resources to raise awareness about the crisis on the border, and the need to foster awareness, cooperation and mutual understanding. In this collection, you will find dozens of rich, engaging resources from partners like Colorín Colorado, Re-imagining Migration, and the Global Oneness Project. Sample some of the resources below and start your lesson planning:
- You Are Welcome Here: Supporting the Social and Emotional Needs of Newcomer Immigrant Students
- Exploring Immigration: A Conversation with Journalist Sonia Nazario
- Have Your Students Heard of Wong Kim Ark?
Digging Deeper: Immigration Lesson Plans and Exploring History
What’s happening at the border is not a new phenomenon. The United States is overshadowed by a history of racism, particularly in the realm of linking new waves of immigrants to the spread of disease. During the 19th century, the United States accused Irish immigrants of spreading cholera, or, what they termed the Irish disease. In the 1880s, Chinese immigrants were labeled as carriers of smallpox and the plague, which galvanized the movement that supported the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.
Read more about structural racism and health inequities here.
Sign the Democracy Declaration
Join educators in pre-K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and representatives of schools across the United States in signing the Democracy Declaration! Each individual freedom depends on the freedom to vote.