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Approaches to Understanding Current US/Mexican Immigration Issues

Resources Provided by Victor Carmona

Presentation from Sept. 20, 2010

Other Resources Recommended by Victor

The following resources represent the best and most useful expressions of different perspectives on immigration I’ve come across in my research, including those with which I disagree (for instance Samuel Huntington’s Hispanic Challenge). They are suitable for different users ranging from middle school to high school students. Academic resources are best for advanced placement high school students and as background material for teachers of all levels. I’ve included powerful novels on American experiences of migration because they offer a comparative perspective that challenges students to think about their differences and similarities with US-Mexico migration. I’ve also included the most recent free online video resources, including alternate media (like VBS tv, an MTV related media outlet). Finally, resources marked with an * indicate that teaching guides or lesson plans are available in the teaching quides/lesson plans section.

Recommended Readings on Several Perspectives on Immigration

The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson (2010, winner of the Pulitzer Prize)
Outcasts United, by Warren St. John (2009) *
Enrique’s Journey, by Sonia Nazario (2007, winner of the Pulitzer Prize)
The New Americans, by Ruben Martinez (2004, companion to the PBS series) *
Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, by Ruben Martinez (2001)
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, (1939, winner of the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize)

The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, by Stephen Castles and Mark J. Miller (2009, 4th ed.)
Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide, by Peter Andreas (2009, 2nd ed.)
Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective, by Wayne Cornelius (2004, 2nd ed.)

“The Hispanic Challenge,” by Samuel P. Huntington (March 1, 2004, Foreign Policy)
“The Immigration Issue,” by Americas Quarterly: The Policy Journal for our Hemisphere (Summer, 2008)

Recommended Video and Photographic Resources

Sin Nombre (2009) - Rated R, Drama
Under the Same Moon (2007) - Rated PG-13, Drama *
A Day Without a Mexican (2004) - Rated R, Satire
The Gatekeeper (2002) - Rated R, Drama

Documentaries - All are not-rated
Dying to Live: A Migrant’s Journey, by Daniel Groody (2005, Groody River Films)
Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary, by Arturo Perez Torres (2004, National Geographic)
Mojados: Through the Night, by Tommy Davis (2004, Vanguard Cinema)

America: The Story of US (2010), by The History Channel, available for online viewing *
Border Wars (2010), by the National Geographic Channel, available for online viewing
Illegal Border Crossing Park (2010), by VBS tv, available for online viewing
Latino in America (2009), by CNN, available for online viewing *
California: The Immigration Dilemma (2009), by PBS Frontline, available for online viewing
The New Americans (2004), by PBS Independent Lens, not available for online viewing *
Mexico: A Death in the Desert (2004), by PBS Frontline, available for online viewing

Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting: Altar, Sonora: The Business of Smuggling, by David Rochkind and Sacha Feinman (2009), available for online viewing on the Pulitzer Center’s website
Don Barletti (2003), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, available for online viewing on the Pulitzer’s Prize website

Recommended Interactive Websites

Policy Research Centers
Migration Policy Institute -
Migration Information Source -
Both sites belong to the Migration Policy Institute, which originated as a part of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Both sites have great policy resources of various lengths and genres. For high school students I recommend their yearly top ten migration issues, published each January. Students may also find that their maps and country resource guides provide an easier interaction with basic data.

The New York Times -
Look for the Times Topics interactive resource. Search for the immigration and emigration topic. You will find interactive maps and graphics that are useful for visual learners.

Teaching Guides and Lesson Plans

For Outcasts United, see the end of the book.

For The New Americans, see the PBS Independent Lens website

For Under the Same Moon, see the Center of Concern’s Education for Justice,

For America: The Story of Us, see the History channel website

For Latino in America, see the parents and teacher discussion guide tab in the CNN website

Additional Resources Provided by Kellogg Outreach

General Information about US/Mexican Immigration
The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, describes itself as a nonpartisan “fact tank” that conducts and reports on many studies of the Hispanic population in the US. It is an excellent site for up-to-date statistics regarding immigrants.
The story of Cesar Bargas and his attempt to persuade Congress to pass the Dream Act, delves into the limits placed on children brought into the US illegally.
PBS provides several stories and links about migrant workers in the US.
NPR has a written and audio report on the Dream Act.
This is the official website of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the US.
The University of Texas at El Paso provides this Borderlands Encyclopedia that is loaded with resources.
The National Immigration Forum, a leading immigrant advocacy organization, sponsors this site.
This forward-looking report discusses how climate change will increase Mexico-US migration in the coming years.
The BBC has a question and answer page on the basic facts of the Arizona immigration law and links to other related articles.
This New York Times article reports on the Arizona immigration law.
NPR reports on the federal judge blocking Arizona’s immigration law.

Lesson Plans about US/Mexican Immigration
Thinking Critically about Internet Sources uses a research project on the immigration issue as an example of how to judge the validity of Internet sources. It provides two websites that offer differing views of the immigration topic and examines the background of the organizations sponsoring the site. This is geared toward high school students.
Use this site to research and discuss Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
In the process of analyzing issues related to immigration from Latin America, this lesson plan has students examine the political messages and stereotypes found in political cartoons.
Students debate the issue of illegal immigrants and driver’s licenses using resources provided on this page.
This is a comprehensive lesson plan for middle school to accompany Esperanza Rising, the novel about a young Mexican girl adapting to her new life in the US. There are Spanish language editions of this book.
Illegal Immigrants: Why Do They Come? provides three readings plus links to help high school students delve into the economic pressures behind immigration.
On a broader view of immigration, Where I Come From helps students research their own families’ immigration story.

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To see our Traveling Trunks of Latin America, click here.




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