“Walling Out the Unwanted”: Understanding the Barriers that Perpetuate Anti-Immigrant Bias
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“Walling Out the Unwanted”: Understanding the Barriers that Perpetuate Anti-Immigrant Bias

grades:  High School (9-12) 

Lesson Summary:

From the ADL- Anti Defamation League:

This lesson increases student awareness about the physical and symbolic barriers that create divides between immigrants and native born residents of the U.S., and engages students in an exploration of the ways in which mainstream discourse on immigration can perpetuate bias and bigotry. Students analyze poetry, blog posts, readings and media clips in order to deepen their understanding of the negative consequences of anti-immigrant language. Students also learn about current legislation related to immigration and ways to take action against anti-immigrant prejudice and discrimination.


  • Students will analyze poetry in order to better understand immigration issues. 
  • Students will learn about the U.S.–Mexico border fence and debate the notion of walls as a strategy for limiting illegal immigration. 
  • Students will explore the language used to discuss immigration in the mainstream media, and increase their media literacy skills. 
  • Students will increase their awareness about the repercussions of anti-immigrant discourse and bias. 
  • Students will learn about current legislation related to immigration. 
  • Students will develop skills to take action against anti-immigrant bias.

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

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Lesson Contributors

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all." ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.