Policy Issues: Immigration and Refugee Crisis


Essential Question

How can immigration lead to conflict and/or progress?

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will compare and contrast historical immigration policies to current immigration policies in the United States to understand why it is a controversial topic.
  2. Students will analyze how the refugee crisis affects individuals and nations by considering differing perspectives on refugees and immigration. 
  3. Students will reflect on how perspectives and policies surrounding immigration and refugees affect national policy on education, health care, worker’s rights, and national security. 

Content Connections




Teacher Resources

Immigration Activities

Immigration Venn Diagram

After reading articles from the Election Issues: Immigration Text Set and the Time Machine article “The first immigrants arrive at Ellis Island”, students will compare and contrast the United States’ evolving perspectives and policies about immigration. 

  • Guiding Questions: How have American perspectives on immigrants changed, or have they stayed the same? How has immigration policy changed over time?  

The Refugee Activities

Point of View Writing

After reading the Election Issues: The Refugee Crisis Text Set, students will write from varied perspectives on the refugee crisis.  

  • Perspectives: Syrian refugee, United States politician opposed to refugees, United States politician supportive of refugees, American citizen, European citizen, Central American unaccompanied minor.
  • Writing Prompt: How do you think refugees should be treated? Include evidence to support your point of view.
  • Conclusion/Discussion: Have students read from their point of view and discuss how these perspectives could work together to remedy conflict.

Belief Statement

I believe that _____ because ____.

  • Teacher Note: Students will complete this statement as a culminating reflection for each issue to inform their final election decisions.


Extended Writing or Discussion

Guiding Question: How do immigrants and refugees affect national policy on education, health care, worker’s rights, and national security?

Student Polling

Teacher Instructions

Use the polling questions as a pre- or post-formative assessment to gauge student interest and engagement with election issues. Share the polling links below with your students so that they can monitor their beliefs throughout the election season. 

Poll 1

Do individuals and families benefit from immigrating to the United States?

Poll 2 

Should the United States accept more refugees?

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