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This unit focuses on inequality in America by comparing immigration issues with mass incarceration issues. Students will investigate changing attitudes in the United States about immigrants and the current climate that equates the immigrant with the criminal. Students will begin with a relevant controversy – the separation of families by immigration officials. They will then compare and contrast the problem of mass incarceration with the attitudes about immigrants and immigration and study the connections made. Students will look at the government’s role in protecting the rights of immigrants and review Supreme Court cases to determine if those rights are expanding or contracting. Applying this knowledge to the present controversy will allow students to see how the government affects their rights today – connecting the unit to the present. The final step will ask students to think about solutions that would change and improve the current climate and system.
(Developed for Social Studies, grade 8; recommended for U.S. History, grade 11, and U.S. Government, grade 12)