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

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 Reform (SIM Lesson Plans)

The purpose of this learning module is to help students learn how a U.S. Senator might address an issue of public significance under consideration in the United States Congress. Learning about personal, state, party, and national interests will help students understand representation more fully. The pre-visit examines how elected representation works. The post-visit lesson supports critical analysis of each student’s strategic choices and votes, preparing them to defend their efforts.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 8, 9, 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

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‚Äôs 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

Calcano-Martinez v. INS (2001)

Does the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act violate the due process clause by suspending habeas corpus or limiting access to the courts? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2001.

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