The History of Immigration Law in the United States

This lesson provides a background on the history of immigration policy in the United States, that is the philosophical origins, legal debates, and legal history from the Founding of the nation to the late 1900s. Students will come to understand how American lawmakers viewed immigrants and the reasoning behind the evolving nature of immigration policy.

  • Resource Type: Editorial Cartoons, Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Immigration eLesson

The United States of America is a nation of immigrants. From its colonial origins to the present day there has been a steady stream of would-be Americans; however, the laws pertaining to immigrants have changed and evolved over time. This lesson will look at previous immigration laws, and highlight the constitutional issues that have arisen out of immigration policy.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Civil Conversation: Immigration Enforcement Raids

Controversial legal and policy issues, as they are discussed in the public arena, often lead to polarization, not understanding. This Civil Conversation activity offers an alternative. In this structured discussion method, under the guidance of a facilitator, participants are encouraged to engage intellectually with challenging materials, gain insight about their own point of view, and strive for a shared understanding of issues. This lesson plan addresses the debate over the policies of the federal agency – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – that investigates and enforces the nation’s immigration laws.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Curriculum Resources for Teaching About Refugees

Annenberg Learner has curated a list of resources for students and teachers about the global refugee crisis and the related topic of immigration. Engage students with activities, lesson plans, and other professional development resources about these topics.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Photography, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Deliberation Materials: “Sanctuary Cities”

Classroom deliberation materials provide classroom-ready readings presenting the issue background and arguments on both sides. These materials focus on the issue of “sanctuary cities.” Should cities or counties be able to declare themselves “sanctuaries” and refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests?

  • Resource Type: Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: State/Local Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Immigration Nation (Game)

Do you know how people become citizens of the United States? In Immigration Nation, you’ll find out as you guide newcomers along their path to citizenship.
Students learn the range of allowable circumstances for legal residence and the requirements for naturalization and full citizenship.

  • Resource Type: Games, Interactives, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Arizona v. U.S. (2012)

Does federal law preempt Arizona’s immigration law? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court dealt with that question in 2012, concerning Arizona’s criminalization of undocumented immigration.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Demore v. Kim (2003)

Does the Immigration and Nationality Act, requiring detention without bail of aliens, violate the right to due process? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2003.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Deliberation Materials: Immigration

Should the U.S. government make it easier for unauthorized immigrants who came to this country as children to pay for college? This activity includes a deliberation reading and glossary, as well as accompanying handouts to give students additional information on the topic and to guide them through the deliberation process from planning to reflection. 

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12