In this activity you will explore some of the effects that immigration in the United States has had on immigrants and American society as a whole. This will help you to understand the complex issues of the immigrant experience, both past and present.
Visit Immigration: Interpreting Primary Sources on the Digital History website and Fixing the Immigration System for America’s 21st Century Economy on the Barack Obama White House website. These resources will give you several points of view from famous Americans about immigration and its effects on the country.
Be prepared to categorize these quotations into views supporting or opposing immigration, identify the main idea of each, and explain your personal reactions to each statement.
Then go to Why Did They Come? on PBS’s Destination America site and read the explanatory paragraph at the right for a brief summary of the factors that have motivated people to immigrate to this country.
Now visit Digital History: Immigration and read the introduction to get an overview of the issues involved in immigration.
Think about answers to these questions as you read these resources:
- What are some aspects of our culture that have been influenced by immigrants?
- What can we gain from studying our country’s diversity?
- How can understanding America’s history in dealing with immigration and multicultural issues help other countries deal with their social and political problems?
Finally, click on the link for the group you have been assigned by your teacher:
- Chinese Immigrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad
- Irish Potato Famine and Irish American Solidarity
- Italian Immigration
- Viva La Raza
Use the information you find from your assigned section to answer the corresponding questions on your Immigration Close-Up student sheet.
Search the newspapers and news magazines for reports of recent developments concerning immigration in the United States. Examine the current situation in light of what you have learned about the effects of immigration in the early 20th century, comparing and contrasting both the immigrants’ experiences and the response of American citizens to the newcomers. You will then participate in a class debate about how the situation has changed and what political and social measures should be taken to improve it.
This esheet is a part of the Immigration lesson.