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UE: HTY 110HA: Immigration: The Changing Face of America: Instructors Only: Discussion Question Suggestions

This is University Exploration that explores the history of immigration process in America


Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-20624 LOC

Discussion Question Suggestions

  • If you were told that you had to leave your home and move to another country and could only bring one suitcase, what would you pack in that suitcase? What would each of those items tell us about your culture, your place of origin, what is important to you, and your hopes for your new life? 


  • What specific push factors would need to be present to make it necessary for you to decide to leave your country? What specific pull factors would determine to which country you would immigrate?


  •  If you were to move to a new country what would you hope your ethnic enclave in the new country would be like? Describe this ethnic enclave in detail. What would need to be present in this ethnic enclave to make you feel at home in a foreign land?


  •  Are there any aspects of American life that are uniquely “American?” Are there practices, traditions, holidays, foods, music, sports, etc. that cannot be traced to a different country of origin? What does this tell us about the composition of American culture?


  •  Is it possible to separate anti-Irish sentiments from anti-Catholic sentiments in 19th Century America? Why or why not?


  • Who has contributed most to American culture and life, the Germans or the Irish? Provide examples to support your choice.


  • In what ways has the American flag served as a symbol and a tool for advancing the cause of opposing ideologies?


  • When investigating immigration history, is it more useful to discuss an immigrant group’s shared achievements or to discuss the individual attainment of members of a particular immigrant group? Why?


  • Why has the world sport of soccer/Futbol not become one of America’s premier sports even though so many immigrant groups play and follow this sport?


Why have Chinese enclaves like China Towns continued to have such a strong presence in American cities to the present day?


· Why were Japanese-Americans put into internment camps during WWII and not German-Americans?

· What are the effects of having a wave of immigration and migration in which the majority of the immigrants and migrants are male? How was this manifest in San Francisco during the Gold Rush?

· Can we use the same concepts and vocabulary to discuss European immigration to America and the Great Migration of southern African Americans to the North? Why or why not?

· What was the most important deciding factor for southern migrants who decided to move to the North – factory agents, letters from friends and family already in the north, or editorials, articles, and letters printed in the Chicago Defender newspaper? Explain why you chose this deciding factor over the others.

· The Asian American experience and the African American experience are markedly different from the experiences of European immigrants. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

· Why is Mexican-American immigration a more complex issue than European or Asian immigration? How does the history of relations between Mexico and the United States make this a complicated discussion? Hint: How much of the United States used to be a part of Mexico?

· We can learn much about the lives and cultural values of a people through their music. What types of music today tell stories about difficult times and colorful characters, like the corridos did? Why does music make such a wonderful vehicle for telling the stories of a people?

· In comparing and contrast Mexican immigration with European and Asian immigration and the African forced immigration, what role does the proximity of Mexico to  the U.S. play in making the Mexican American immigration experience unique?

· Should America provide a safe refuge for immigrants in danger in their home countries (refugees)? Why or why not?

·Should Puerto Rico become the 51st U.S. state? Why or why not?

  • Why has there been a difference in the reception of the first and second waves of immigrants from Cuba?

·         Does America need immigrants in society today? Why or why not? Think about the ways immigrants contribute to society. Are there negative effects related to immigration? Do the benefits of immigration outweigh the negatives? Why or why not?

·         Should the United States apply different immigration policy toward particular immigrant groups? Why or why not?

·         Why is it so difficult for many Americans to separate Islamic terrorists and extremists from Muslims in general?

·         What is the American Civil Liberties Union? Why might this group have occasion to be associated with Muslim Americans?

What groups and practices in the United States can be compared to the belief systems and tactics of Islamic extremists?