Borders and bans: U.S. immigration politics in historical perspective
This is a resource for educators, with links to publicly available online materials for teachers and students to learn about the history of immigration policy in the United States. This resource includes ideas for incorporating the historical materials into high school and college classrooms.
The election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States may have opened a new period of heightened nativism and anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. But these processes are not new in American history. This document is intended to be a resource for secondary school teachers who want to develop curriculum to teach about the historical roots of present-day immigration issues, particularly around anti-immigrant policies and the criminalization of unauthorized migration.
In the second section of this document (U.S. Immigration History Resources), we have compiled a thematically organized list of short readings and resources, all available online, that speak specifically to this history. This is not meant to be a comprehensive syllabus, but rather a reference that connects teachers and students to selected, publicly available materials that we think might be of help in contextualizing current debates over immigration. (For a more in-depth syllabus on U.S. immigration history, with an extensive list of journal articles, books, and links to online archives, see the #ImmigrationSyllabus, developed by immigration historians, at http://editions.lib.umn.edu/immigrationsyllabus/)
In the third section of this document (Instructional Protocols and Assessments), you will find a set of instructional strategies that teachers can use to structure students’ learning as they engage with these texts and sources. You will also find ideas for assessments or projects that can be used with the sources in this document.
We hope that these resources will be useful! For more information, you can contact the creators of this document:
II. U.S. IMMIGRATION HISTORY RESOURCES
Tyler Anbinder, “Today’s Banned Immigrants Are No Different From Our Immigrant Ancestors,” February 7, 2017, American Historical Association blog
Paul A. Kramer, “Not Who We Are,” Slate, February 3, 2017
Paul A. Kramer, “Trump’s Anti-Immigration Racism Represents an American Tradition,” New York Times, January 22, 2018
Alan M. Kraut, “‘Make America Great Again’--Again?” Center for Migration Studies, January 3, 2017
Alan M. Kraut, “Nativism, An American Perennial,” Center for Migration Studies, February 8, 2016
Lizzy Ratner, “Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine,” The Nation, January 26, 2017
2. The invention of “documentedness” and the rise of “crimmigration”
Alan Aja and Alejandra Marchevsky, “How Immigrants Became Criminals,” Boston Review, March 17, 2017
Julia Greene, “‘Bad Dudes’: Immigrants, Illegality, and Human Rights,” Huffington Post, February 25, 2017
“A Look Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons,” Democracy Now, May 4, 2006
“History of the Undocumented Immigrant,” Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo, “Why Isn’t My Green Card Green?” Slate, July 4, 2012
“How Immigration Became Illegal:” Democracy Now, interview with Aviva Chomsky, May 30, 2014
3. Defining and policing U.S. borders
David Bacon, “Displaced People: NAFTA’s Most Important Product,” NACLA Report on the Americas, September/October 2008,
Wayne A. Cornelius, “Impacts of Border Enforcement on Unauthorized Mexican Migration to the United States,” Border Battles, September 26, 2006
Kelly Lytle Hernandez, “How Crossing the US-Mexico Border Became a Crime,” The Conversation, April 30, 2017
Interview with Patrick Ettinger, Author of Imaginary Lines: Border Enforcement and the Origins of Undocumented Immigration, 1882-1930, Book TV, C-SPAN, September 9, 2015
Joseph Nevins and Timothy Dunn, “Barricading the Border,” NACLA Report on the Americas, November/December 2008
Aristide Zolberg, “A Century of Informality on the United States-Mexico Border,” Border Battles: The U.S. Immigration Debate, August 17, 2006
Kelly Lytle Hernandez, “America’s Mass Deportation System Is Rooted in Racism,” The Conversation, February 26, 2017
Emily Pope-Obeda, “‘This Deportation Business’: 1920s and the Present,” Solidarity-us.org, May/June 2016. http://www.solidarity-us.org/node/4640
5. Racial boundaries of migration and citizenship
“135 Years Ago, Another Travel Ban Was in the News,” New York Times, March 17, 2017
Alvin Chang, “Watch How Immigration in America Has Changed Over the Last 200 Years,” (interactive data) Vox, April 26, 2016, http://www.vox.com/2016/1/4/10709366/immigration-america-200-years
Alvin Chang and Gina Barton, “The Racist History of US Immigration Policy” (video), Vox, January 15, 2016
Massoud Hayoun, “A Chinese American Lesson for Trump,” Al-Jazeera, January 31, 2017
Erika Lee, “A History Lesson for Donald Trump and His Supporters,” New York Daily News, August 18, 2015
Maddalena Marinari, “Another Time in History that the US Created Travel Bans--Against Italians,” PRI’s The World, October 2, 2017.
Natalia Molina, “The Myth of the Unassimilable Mexican,” Racism Review, November 28,
Marian L. Smith, “Race, Nationality, and Reality: INS Administration of Racial Provisions in U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law Since 1898,” Prologue Magazine, Summer 2002, Vol. 34, No. 2:
6. Living as undocumented / becoming ‘legal’
“Bengali Harlem,” Interview with Alaudin Ullah, The Story, NPR, May 24, 3013
Hansi Lo Wang, “Chinese American Descendants Uncover Forged Family History,” Morning Edition, NPR, December 17, 2013
“When We Were Illegal Aliens: Jewish Immigration Under the Quota Laws,” Interview with Libby
Garland, Tablet Magazine, May 27, 2014
Hilary Goodfriend, “A Demand for Sanctuary,” Jacobin, February 17, 2017
“Historians Put Immigration Executive Order in Historical Context,” Process, February 16, 2017
“We’ve Been Here Before: Historians Annotate and Analyze Immigration Ban’s Place in History,” The World, Public Radio International, February 1, 2017
8. “Homeland security” and post-9/11 immigration policy
Nicholas De Genova, “Migrant ‘Illegality’ and the Metaphysics of Antiterrorism: ‘Immigrants’ Rights’ in the Aftermath of the Homeland Security State,” July 28, 2006
Deepa Iyer and Jayesh M. Rathod, “9/11 and the Transformation of U.S. Immigration Law and Policy,” Human Rights Magazine, Vol. 38, No. 1, Winter 2011
“We Are All Suspects Now,” Book talk with Tram Nguyen, Author of We Are All Suspects Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant Communities After 9/11, Book Talk, C-SPAN, September 22, 2005. https://www.c-span.org/video/?189090-1/suspects-now
Further Reading: Books on the history of undocumented immigration and the criminalization of immigration
David Bacon, Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants. Boston: Beacon Press, 2009.
Vivek Bald, Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.
Aviva Chomsky, Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014.
Patrick Ettinger. Imaginary Lines: Border Enforcement and the Origins of Undocumented
Immigration, 1882-1930. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2009.
Libby Garland, After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.
Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.
Torrie Hester, Deportation: The Origins of U.S. Policy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017.
Hidetaka Hirota, Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
S. Deborah Kang, The INS on the Line: Making Immigration Law on the US-Mexico Border, 1917-1954. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
Daniel Kanstroom. Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.
Estelle Lau. Paper Families: Identity, Immigration Restriction, and Chinese Exclusion. Raleigh & Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.
Erika Lee, At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration During the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
Deirdre Maloney. National Insecurities: Immigrants and U.S. Deportation Policy since 1882. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012.
Hiroshi Motomura, Immigration Outside the Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the ‘Illegal Alien’ and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary. New York: Routledge, 2002.
Mae Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.
IIIA. INSTRUCTIONAL PROTOCOLS
The following protocols can be used alongside the above resources to facilitate students’ understanding of immigration history and themes. After identifying content objectives and essential questions, teachers can select instructional protocols that best serve the line of inquiry and thinking needed to study the content and topics in these sources. Many of these protocols are text-based and text-dependent, but note that some of the sources are roundtable discussions or videos. The protocols may subsequently require adjustment, depending on the source and your classroom context.
Students work collaboratively to define the origin, purpose, value, and limitations of the text or source they are analyzing. Students identify textual evidence for their evaluation of the source.
Teachers start with a debatable question. Students read the text and surface important facts and details. They generate a claim and counterclaim in response to the debatable question. They select the pieces of evidence from the text/source and place them on a continuum, deciding where the evidence falls in support of the claim or counterclaim.
Students read the text(s). After one read, they do a second read with the following questions in mind:
Students select an excerpt that encapsulates their thinking for each of the 4As. Students meet in groups to discuss their answers using the 4As. The group should do one round per question until they discuss all 4As, and share the excerpts they chose from the text for each.
The teacher curates a text-set of sources that respond to an overarching essential question. Students read the text/sources in the set. After solidifying their understanding of the texts/sources, students work collaboratively to write sentences of different types for each source:
a declarative or imperative statement
and an exclamatory sentence.
Each sentence should articulate the gist or most salient idea they took away from their reading/viewing of the text or source. By writing the sentences using different sentence types, they articulate their understanding in different ways.
After reading/viewing the historical sources, students write a response using each of the sentence stems:
Students share out their thinking in groups or as a class. The teacher can deepen the discussion by probing into what changed their minds, how their thinking was revised as a result of engaging with new information about history.
1. Present a dilemma to students taken from the text or source.
2. Identify factors that “pull” at each side of the dilemma, in the two sides of the dilemma.
3. Ask students to think of “tugs,” or reasons why society or culture is swayed to either side of the dilemma.
4. Ask students to generate “what if?” questions to explore the topic further.
Teacher establishes 4 alternatives or choices (of more or less equal appeal) to a given situation or question. Students write their choice and 3 reasons on an index card. Students move to whichever corner of the room has been designated for one of the four choices. In the corners, students discuss their reasoning with others who chose the same. Some modifications may include: requiring students to present textual evidence for their choice based on the readings provided, having each corner/choice be aligned with a different text out of a set of sources that students have read, or asking students to find someone from a different corner to discuss their reasoning.
Anticipatory Reading Guides include major ideas presented in a text and polemical statements that challenge students’ beliefs or assumptions. They require students to respond to the statements by agreeing or disagreeing and to justify their response.
Clustering & Concept Mapping: Finding Connections in Immigration History
Before the routine, the teacher must assemble a group of words or phrases that are central to the sources students have just viewed/read. After determining the words, the teacher creates a manipulative with each word.
Part I: Sorting
Part II: Sharing
After completing their maps, groups now have the opportunity to showcase their work to other groups and view the works of other groups.
Part III: Self-Assessment
People, Places, & Events: Cause-Effect Relationships
1. Students select 15-20 words from the reading assignment
2. Students sort them into the following categories, based on their knowledge from the reading and their assumptions:
3. Using keywords from each category, students write a series of statements explaining either 1) problems, or 2) outcomes/cause & effect relationships.
4. Students share their generated statements to prompt discussion, or to brainstorm topic sentences for paragraph writing.
IIIB. ASSESSMENTS OR PROJECT IDEAS
Advocate for your clients’ application to immigrate to the U.S.
Undocumented Immigrant, about to be deported
Family member back in your home country
Audio letter or poem
Your feelings about living in the U.S.
Immigration official representing the U.S. government
People hoping to come to the United States
Public Service Announcement
Changes in immigration policies, during a given time or place
Owner of a company that employs many immigrants
Local government official
Testimony or prepared statement
How changes in immigration policies have affected your business
Project ideas might involve students using the listed sources/texts to:
Borders & Bans: U.S. Immigration Politics in Historical Perspective