Immigration Part 2: Illegal Immigration
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Suggested length: 45 minutes
Many immigrants enter America without legal status. It is estimated that approximately 10.5 million illegal immigrants reside in America today: that’s a significant fraction of our population (Pew Research Center). Currently, these people make up a significant portion of our economy. But America’s feelings towards illegal immigrants are decidedly mixed: some people feel that our country is dependent on this immigration to thrive, while others fear that immigrants are stealing opportunities and burdening our social systems. Some people want to send illegal immigrants back to their countries of origins, while others want to protect their rights to stay in America. It’s a complicated issue: where do you stand? This conversation is part of a three-part series about immigration. In this conversation, you and other participants will explore questions around illegal immigration. By practicing the conversation agreements and sticking to the three-round structure, you’ll learn more about how you and your peers think about the importance of free speech and the responsibilities we all face around it.
Question Round 1: Reestablish connection
Suggested length: 15 minutes
Get reacquainted with students from your paired classroom. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- Does your family have any traditions? (ways of celebrating birthdays, holidays, family trips, jobs/careers that run in the family…)
- Does your school have any traditions? (pep rallies, sports rivalries, arts festivals, community service…)
- Does your town/neighborhood have any traditions? (parades, fairs, festivals, contests, day of service…)
- What would you say your family values? Your school? Your town?
Question Round 2: Listen and share to understand
Suggested length: 20 minutes
Share your views -- and listen openly to others' views -- on the assigned topic, without debating or trying to change anyone's opinion. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- Why do you think people come into America illegally?
- What are illegal immigrants’ intentions in America?
- Do you think that legal immigrants are, overall, a benefit or a burden to our country?
- As a country, should we be working to keep immigrants out, to provide legal routes towards immigration, or to protect the illegal immigrants that are already here?
Question Round 3: Reflect and share takeaways
Suggested length: 10 minutes
Reflect on -- and share with other participants -- how it felt to join a Mismatch conversation. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most valuable to you in this conversation.
- What new learning or appreciations do you have after joining this conversation?
- Have you found common ground or areas of interest that surprised you?
- What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
Before starting a conversation, all participants must agree to these conversation agreements.
1. Be Curious and Open to Learning.
Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.
2. Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences.
In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on some beliefs and opinions.
3. Be Purposeful and to the Point.
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are making the same point more than once.
4. Show Respect and Suspend Judgment
Human beings tend to judge one another, do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.
5. Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others.
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be considerate to others who are doing the same.
6. Own and Guide the Conversation.
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what’s happening and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.