Modern Response to Refugees & Migrants (with a focus on the U.S.)
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Modern Response to Refugees & Migrants (with a focus on the U.S.)
Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Objectives: Students will be able to

1. Identify biases of writers and commentators in their treatment of refugees.
2. Understand the basis of their personal views on refugees and other migrants.
3. Express their views on migration to the U.S. 
4. Understand that refugees may enter the United States legally though the U.S. refugee admissions program. 
5. Understand that undocumented persons may enter the United States legally in order to seek asylum. 
6. Understand U.S. policies pertaining to undocumented persons not seeking or not eligible for asylum.
7. Have a sense for the living conditions that many undocumented migrants live in today.

Context

Biases exist in media coverage of the immigration issue.

• Buzz words and terms that indicate biases. (See questions in Appendix VI)
• Threats from undocumented aliens: real or imagined?

Myths about undocumented immigrants in the United States:

• Immigrants don’t want to learn English.
• Immigrants don’t pay taxes.
• Immigrants increase the crime rate.
• Immigrants take jobs away from Americans.
• Immigrants are a drain on the U.S. economy.
• Undocumented immigrants are a burden on the healthcare system

Experience

Articles/Books

• The Power of Love (Ann Molina, 2003) - a stirring testimonial to the injustices of detention centers and the liberating power of faith to survive from the perspective of an undocumented immigrant.

• System of Neglect — article about detention in the U.S. reported by The Washington Post, May 2008.

• Obama Administration's Plan to Permit Young Migrants to Remain in U.S. (New York Times, June, 2012)

• Karnes County Civil Detention Center — new model of detention housing focusing on more humane treatment. (March, 2012)

• Immigration Incarceration — The Expansion and Failed Reform of Immigration Detention in Essex County, NJ. (March, 2012)

Films/Movies/Documentaries

• Lost in Detention — PBS Frontline examines the Obama administration's controversial get-tough immigration policy. (October, 2011)

• Profits and Punishments — how companies are shaping immigration laws (YouTube, 2012)

• Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works — twelve discrete films about several dozen fascinating people in all kinds of places, each connected by a commitment to change the way that the United States handles the bedrock national identity issue of immigration.

• Detention in America - a CBS 60 Minutes segment reporting on immigrants suffering from neglect in detention centers.

Other

• Kino Border Initiative — The Society of Jesus seeks to respond to the call of Christ who is present among those who are suffering from the consequences of contemporary immigration policy, border enforcement efforts, and the reality of undocumented migration, apprehension, detention and deportation. KBI is an organization accompanying and serving migrants on the Arizona/Mexico border.

• Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Detention Chaplaincy Program

• USCCB Justice for Immigrants Campaign.

• CAIR Coalition — brings together community groups, pro bono attorneys, volunteers and immigrants in the D.C. metropolitan area to ensure all immigrants are treated with fairness, dignity, and with respect for their human and civil rights.

• DREAM Act — Federal legislation which would regularize the status of several million undocumented youth.

• Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona's SB1070 (June, 2012)

• Dignity Not Detention — a campaign by the Detention Watch Center to call for the restoration of fundamental human rights and due process in the broken U.S. immigration detention and deportation system. [PDF]

• Secure Communities — a deportation program by the Department of Homeland Security that relies on partnership among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The District of Columbia's response.

• Global Migration Map — a look at the flow of people around the globe from June, 2007; or view thisexperimental project in data visualization from 2012.

• Government-mandated frequent transfer of detainees adds enormous costs to detention, impedes hearings and the ability of detainees to communicate with lawyers and family.

Reflection

How do public figures, politicians and media influence our views of migrants either documented or undocumented? 

Action

• Bookmark website: Refugee Stories
• Bookmark Interfaith Immigration Coalition, an organization committed to enacting fair and humane immigration reform.
• Write a response to a recent U.S. immigration news article.
• What have you learned, what do you think should be done? 

Evaluation

• Small group interaction — students discuss the biases that exist in U.S. media coverage of refugees and undocumented immigrants. 
• Student evaluation of the lesson — small group work, then share with class.