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Teaching Immigration:Migration, Citizenship, and Identity in Postwar America Kristina Shull December 4, 2013 Teaching American History Institute University of California, Irvine History Project
Overview • America’s demographics are rapidly changing. What historical factors have caused this shift? • What are various (and often competing) ways in which we can conceptualize the history of immigration in the United States? • Strategies for teaching immigration: • CA State Standards • Working with Primary Sources • Fostering Critical Thinking • Making the Past “Actionable”
Immigration Before WWII • http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/charts/final.immig.shtml shows the waves of immigration into the U.S. • Immigration generally unrestricted until 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, 1907 Gentlemen’s Agreement with Japan, and 1924 National Origins Act • Immigration had been substantially cut off after the 1924 National Origins Act and the Great Depression • Why the steady increase since WWII?
Renewed Immigration After WWII • 1952 Immigration Act: Abolished racial restrictions found in U.S. law going back to the Naturalization Act of 1790, but still retained a quota system for nationalities and regions. The Act defined three types of immigrants: immigrants with special skills or relatives of qualifying U.S. citizens; a quota of “average” immigrants; and refugees • Subsequent Refugee Acts: • Many anticommunist Cubansallowed into US as refugees after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution in Cuba (1959) • Florida, especially Miami, becomes heavily Cuban Cubans in Miami march Fidel Castro
Immigration Reform Act of 1965 • Ended “national origins” quotas on immigration • Substituted criteria of skills, family ties, or “refugee” status from communist countries. • Opened way for growing immigration from Asia, South Asia, Africa, and Middle East • Latin America: Quotas placed • for first time Lyndon Johnson signs Act
Fall of Saigon after 1975 brought growing numbers of people who had fought with the U.S. in Vietnam • Vietnamese • Hmong • Cambodian Vietnamese American Parade in Westminster Hmong graduates of St. Paul MN high school
Refugee Act of 1980 • admitted “political” refugees from communist countries (eg, Jews from the Soviet Union, Cubans, Vietnamese) • banned “economic” refugees such as people fleeing Haiti, wars in Central America in the 1980s, and undocumented Mexicans seeking work Haitian refugees in boats transferred to US Coast guard for return to Haiti.
1986 IRCA Act & Economic Boom • 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act granted large-scale “amnesty” to undocumented migrants while placing sanctions of employers • Economic Boom of 1980s and 1990s attracted many Mexican and Central American migrants, both legal and undocumented, who wanted work Food truck in Chicago
Immigration in California Between 1970 and 2009, the number of California residents born abroad increased from 1.8 million to almost 10 million. 46% have become naturalized U.S. citizens. This large influx, together with undocumented immigration, has brought controversy. . . .
As Around the Turn of Last Century… • American life again became filled with diverse languages and cultures • As with the previous wave of immigrants, immigrants themselves were highly diverse in wealth, religion, political leanings, circumstances of migration. • New workers competed with native-born Americans for jobs, often breeding conflict. • Some native-born Americans warned about cultural and economic decline; others welcomed the new energy and revitalization of cities
Conceptualizing the History of Immigration to the United States: A Nation of Immigrants?
An Open Door? • Globally, the United States is seen to be one of the more welcoming nations for immigrants: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/03/21/a-fascinating-map-of-countries-color-coded-by-their-openness-to-foreigners/ • Historically, the United States has been depicted as a “nation of immigrants”; a “melting pot”
A History of Restriction? • Role of race and nativism in immigration legislation • Scholars argue that the history of U.S. immigration is one of ongoing restriction: • Aristide Zolberg, A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America • Dan Kanstroom, Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History • Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America • Mark Dow, American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons
1996 IIRIRA & Post-9/11 Restrictions • 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act greatly expanded conditions under which immigrants can be detained and deported • After 9/11, a further series of restrictions was enacted • Today, the United States detains and deports upwards of 400,000 migrants a year
Current Immigration Reform Debate • Should there be a path to citizenship for some in the U.S. illegally? • Recently, flow of immigrants to United States has declined due to poor economy • Support for and against the DREAM Act:
Changing “American” Identities? • The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by the year 2042 U.S. residents who identify themselves as Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander will together outnumber non-Hispanic whites, meaning that ethnic and racial minorities will comprise a majority of the nation’s population. This has been called a “watershed moment” that shows us just how multicultural we have become. • What does it mean to be “American”? • Who is included; who is excluded? • What do we mean by: • Pluralism? • Assimilation?
Teaching Immigration: CA State Standards • Teaching Tolerance lesson series: “Changing Demographics, Changing Identity, Changing Attitudes” • http://www.tolerance.org/lesson/changing-demographics-changing-identity-changing-attitudes
Teaching Immigration: Using Primary Sources • UCI History Project: Analyzing a Primary Source using the “6 C’s”: • Content: What’s going on in the source? • Citation: Who created this, and when? Why? • Context: What else was happening when this was created? • Connection: Invoke current knowledge: How does this source connect to what you already know? Seek new knowledge: What else do you need to know to make sense of this source? • Communication: Point of view: What does this source say when ‘reading between the lines’? In what ways is the source reliable? Where is there room for doubt or speculation? • Conclusion: What can this source tell us about the questions we’re asking in this course?
Teaching Immigration: Fostering Critical Thinking 1920 Cartoon 2013 Cartoon
Teaching Immigration: Making the Past “Actionable” • 10 Myths about Immigration: http://www.tolerance.org/immigration-myths • Teaching Tolerance activity: “Family Ties and Fabric Tales: Middle and High School”: http://www.tolerance.org/supplement/family-ties-and-fabric-tales-middle-and-high-school