Where the Blame Lies: America’s Relationship with Migrants in Times of Crisis

Grade: 11th Grade
Topics: Migrant Scapegoating
Social Justice Skills: Immigration reform, Advocacy, Student/Community action
Created by: Brian Milara

This unit will focus on the ideology of migrant scapegoating (especially when those migrants are people of color) and how this blame has produced a carceral pattern based not on punishment, but presupposition, of crime. It follows up on a district curricular lesson arc in which students study the internment of Japanese-Americans and extends the theme of scapegoating to current examples, such as refugees from Afghanistan and Central America. This unit will scaffold research methods with a curated set of sources, including news stories, video clips, interviews, and opinion polling, as well as websites of reform groups like NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice and American Friends Service Committee. This, in turn, will support students in creating presentations using widely-accessible media (e.g., TikTok videos, drafts of murals and street art, music, newspaper guest op-ed, speech at state senator/assembly member town hall) with the goal of collective advocacy and spurring the community and urging policymakers to view the changes to migrant detention in Newark either as a model to be followed or avoided.

View the PDF: Where the Blame Lies