In October, a caravan of over 7,000 migrants left Central America for Mexico, and this week another caravan from Honduras plans to leave.
The torrent of Central American families at the border exposes not only this country’s broken immigration and asylum systems, but also how immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers are too often feared and misunderstood. On Jan. 12, the U.S. broke the record for the longest federal government shutdown in its history, due to conflicts surrounding President Trump’s insistence on building a $5.7 billion border wall. Meanwhile, thousands of migrants wait at the border for asylum and hundreds of children in detention centers wait to be reunited with their families.
Our newest “Let’s Talk About” collection addresses the Central American migrant caravans and this country’s response to the thousands at its “doorstep.” This topic encourages students to think critically about U.S. immigration and asylum policies and reflect on our obligations as fellow human beings.
We have discussion guides on other tough topics. You can explore them here.
How to Use This Collection
Suggested below are steps to begin a thoughtful and meaningful discussion with your students about the migrant caravan heading from Central America to the U.S. Choose what is appropriate for your class.
1. Have students complete a pre-survey (optional)
2. Choose at least one YES! article and another site’s article for a robust compare and contrast.
3. Use the discussion questions—or craft your own—to gauge your students’ understanding and opinions.
4. Have students complete a post-survey (optional).
5. Explore curriculum if you’d like to dive deeper.
Migrant Life at the U.S. Border: 24 Hours in Photos
Grandmothers Bring Food and Comfort to Asylum-Seekers at Bus Stations
Why Hondurans See Migration as an Act of Civil Disobedience
Europe’s History with Refugees Has Something to Tell the U.S.
Indian Country Remembers the Trauma of Children Taken from Their Parents
Why the Migrant Caravan Is a Climate Change Story
As the government shutdown over Trump’s border wall rages, a journey along the entire 1,933-mile US–Mexico border shows the monumental task of securing it (Business Insider)
After long, dangerous journey, this immigrant’s dreams may end in Tijuana (PBS NewsHour)
Facts, not fears: four myths about the mass exodus from Central America (Oxfam)
An ‘invasion of illegal aliens’: The oldest immigration fear-mongering metaphor in America (The Washington Post)
1. Why do you think President Trump is adamant about building a wall at the U.S.–Mexico border? What is at the root of people’s desire to keep the migrant caravan out of the U.S.—or to welcome them to the U.S.?
2. The immigration crisis and the migrant caravan reflect a long history of people seeking asylum from their home countries and facing barriers at the border. Many migrants say it is not by choice but by necessity that they leave due to violence, extreme poverty, war, and hunger. If you were facing similar circumstances, what would you do? Would you attempt the journey for the chance at a better life?
3. What three adjectives best describe the journey of a migrant seeking asylum? Describe why you chose these three words.
Re-imagining Migration (UCLA)
Teaching the U.S.-Mexico Border (Latin American and Iberian Institute, The University of New Mexico )