Skip to Content



"Behind the Mountains" by Edwidge Danticat

Teach students about the values of immigration and increase awareness of the adjustments faced by immigrants by reading Edwidge Danticat’s novel Behind the Mountains.  This gripping story chronicles the experience of Celiane Esperance, a young girl living in Haiti, who is forced to flee political violence to the US with her mother and brother and reunite with her father in Brooklyn, NY.  Along the journey, Celiane captures her thoughts and feelings in a journal she affectionately names her “sweet little book.”  This comprehensive unit plan includes activities for students to: keep a dialectical journal while reading, decipher the meaning of figurative language in Haitian proverbs and art, apply the “push-pull” factors of immigration, understand how a “duality of cultures” and “stages of adaptation” function in the lives of immigrants, as well as write an argumentative essay.

For lesson procedures, Common Core standards alignment, please download the Unit Plan.

Download Handouts:

Year Released: 2015


Just What is Executive Action? A Lesson From the Principal’s Desk

Much has been made of the president’s use of executive action in order to carry out the nation’s laws. It is a vague term that puzzles many in the media and raises large questions. Is it legal? Is it an abuse of power? Is it constitutional? Has it been used by Democratic and Republican presidents alike?

As suggested by the title, “Just What is Executive Action? A Lesson from the Principal’s Desk” students will apply inductive reasoning skills about individual school policies that are determined by the principal in order to understand what execution action is and its limitations. Students will apply their knowledge of school policy in order to define executive action in their own words as well as to read the media for accuracy and bias. An extension of this activity is also available for students to closely read a report Executive Grants of Temporary Immigration Relief, 1956-Present published by the Immigration Policy Center.

For lesson procedures, Common Core standards alignment, please click here.

Year Released: 2014


View File

The First American Settlers and the First Thanksgiving

Learn and discuss the myths and facts surrounding the first Thanksgiving and the first immigrants by engaging students in a thought-provoking and humorous read-aloud that challenges them to identify dominant and resistant readings of this national holiday.

For lesson procedures, Common Core standards alignment, please click here.

Year Released: 2014


View File

Organizations in Your Community

Educators, community organizers and civic leaders interested in engaging your community with service learning projects? Find local organizations committed to immigrant rights, integration and social justice. Read more...

White House White Board: Why Immigration is Beneficial to America

It's clear commonsense immigration reform is good for the economy as a whole. Don't take our word for it — study after study has shown that commonsense immigration reform will strengthen the economy, spur innovation, reduce the deficit and increase US trade and exports.

Year Released: 2013

View Link

Council Announces Winners of the "Change in Motion" Multimedia Contest

Published on Fri, Feb 01, 2013

The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural 2012 “Change in Motion” Multimedia Contest. The competition challenges young adults to explore the role that immigration plays in their lives and communities.  The program allows young filmmakers and artists to create projects which focus on celebrating America as a nation of immigrants and explore the impact immigration has on our everyday lives.   The contest is sponsored, in part, by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Published in the

2013 Celebrate America Creative Writing Contest

The American Immigration Council is proud to sponsor the annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest. The contest inspires educators to bring U.S. Immigration history and lessons into their classrooms and gives fifth graders the opportunity to explore America as a nation of immigrants.

5th grade teachers sign up here!

Deferred Action Q&A

Do you have questions about deferred action.  Use this resource from NILC before applying.  Please seek the advice of an immigration attorney should you have ANY questions go to to find an immigration attorney  Beware of scam artists and any body who promises fast processing or guaranteed acceptance.

Year Released: 2012

View Link

Words Have No Borders

Words Have No Borders: Student Voices on Immigration, Language and Culture

This publication from the College Board’s National Commission on Writing, records the powerful voices and experiences of these students: They describe where they came from and why they came, what they encountered, and their hopes for the future.

But underlying all these stories is an unmistakable current of hope, courage and hard work, clearly illustrating that, as in the past, these students are among our nation’s greatest assets. As you read their words, you will be given a sense of optimism and inspiration, so important to all of us in these challenging times. Read more...

Year Released: 2012

View File

MIPEX- Interactive Snapshot of World Migration

MIPEX is a fully interactive tool and reference guide to assess, compare and improve integration policy.Using 148 policy indicators MIPEX creates a rich, multi-dimensional picture of migrants’ opportunities to participate in society by assessing governments’ commitment to integration. By measuring policies and their implementation it reveals whether all residents are guaranteed equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities.

What can you do with it?

• Analyse seven policy areas which shape a legally resident third-country national’s journey to full citizenship.
• Examine how policies compare against the standard of equal rights and responsibilities for migrants.
• Find out how your country’s policies rank compared with other countries.
• Track if policies are getting better or worse over time.
• Dig into real examples of how to improve policies.
• Use it to design and assess new laws and proposals on an on-going basis.

Year Released: 2012

High School

View Link

Syndicate content