Texts on US immigration

Speeches

Address to the Nation on Immigration | Analysis

Barack Obama argues for a reform of the immigration system in the US and proposes a middle-way to deal with the issue until the legislative reform takes place. His main arguments focus on illegal immigrants, and he advocates for granting a part of them the permit to stay in the US.

Donald Trump's Immigration Speech

Donald Trump’s speech explores the topic of illegal immigration in the US, focusing on the negative consequences of illegal immigration and the speaker’s proposed solutions to this problem if he is elected President.

Articles

Why Latino Children Are Scared of Donald Trump | Analysis

The article explores the way in which immigrants are discriminated against and threatened by the discourse of Donald Trump while running for the presidency in the US.

'Dreamers' Put Their Trust in DACA. What Now?

The article focuses on the status of children of illegal immigrants in the US, children also known as ‘Dreamers’. The text reveals the politics behind immigration and the challenges of being an illegal immigrant.

Toil and Temptation

The article focuses on illegal immigration from Mexico to the US by following the case story of Antonio Gonzales, a young immigrant from a Mexican village. The writer explores how immigrants are overworked and underpaid, how they send money back home, how they struggle to integrate into their new environment, and how some of them eventually succeed.

Coming to America, to clean

The text is an account of the experiences of Antonia, an illegal immigrant in the US. The text includes a vivid description of the illegal crossing of the US-Mexico border and reveals that some American employers have connections with smuggling networks and are encouraging illegal immigration.

Short stories and poetry

Deportation at Breakfast

Fondation draws the readers’ attention to the difficulties faced by illegal immigrants in America. These difficulties are discussed in connection with employment conditions, the risk of deportation, and in connection with how illegal immigrants are perceived by Americans.

The Third Dumpster

The story refers to the contrasting experiences of legal and illegal immigrants in the US. Illegal immigrants have access to very limited job opportunities and are often exploited while putting themselves at risk. On the other hand, legal immigrants, while still being affected by economic instability, can have relatively more options than illegal immigrants.

Aline's Journey

The author’s aim is to raise awareness on those who cross borders illegally and are treated badly when they reach the US, although some of them might be refugees, fleeing conflict zones and political oppression. The author shows how undocumented, illegal migrants who cross the border are automatically treated as prisoners, having fewer rights than an imprisoned citizen of the US would have.

Say You

The story draws attention to the fact that immigration tends to be a difficult process. Not only practically, but also on a psychological level, as all the immigrants in the story fear their uncertain future. The story depicts how the immigrants are waiting to be allowed to enter the US, an unknown place they fear they might not adapt to.

The New Colossus | Analysis

This famous American poem describes the Statue of Liberty in poetic terms, turning it into a symbol of America's welcoming attitude towards immigrants from across the world. The poem is still inscribed in the base of the monument. 

Other texts

Below are further suggestions for texts or movies that may be relevant when working with US immigration. We do not currently have study guides for these texts, but maybe you can be inspired to look for some of these titles yourself.

  • Cisneros, Sandra - The House on Mango Street (1984 novel)
  • Cuarón, Jonás - Desierto (2015 movie)
  • Nazario, Sonia - Enrique's Journey (2006 novel)
  • Nga, Mae - The Lucky Ones. One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (2010 novel)
  • Otsuka, Julie - The Buddha in the Attic (2011 novel)
  • Robertson, Shari and Camerini, Michael - How Democracy Works Now: Twelve Stories (2010 documentary)
  • Tan, Amy - The Joy Luck Club (1989 novel)
  • Weitz, Chris - A Better Life (2011 movie)