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Law, Liberty, & Lincoln:
Honest Abe’s Immigration Act

ICYMI: President Lincoln’s Act
to Encourage Immigration

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President Lincoln passed The Act to Encourage Immigration, July 4, 1864—the first, last, and only major law in American history to encourage immigration. Approved on July 4, 1864, the act was ultimately repealed. The repeal of The Act to Encourage Immigration could not, however, remove the effect it had upon immigration.

According to Time.com, “The Act, in 8 sections, authorized the President, by and with the consent of the Senate, to appoint a Commissioner of Immigration for a term of 4 years at $2,500/year; and a subordinate Superintendent in New York at $2,000/year. Section 2 provided that emigrants pledge their wages for no more than 12 months to cover their transportation here, but barred “any contract contravening the Constitution of the United States, or creating in any way the relation of slavery or servitude.” (Basically, it said immigrants could have other people pay to bring them here, but those people couldn’t treat them like slaves and only take the money the new immigrants earned for one year – after that the immigrants were free to do whatever they wanted).

Section 3 exempted all immigrants arriving after the passage of the act from compulsory military service unless the immigrant voluntarily renounced under oath his allegiances to the country of his birth, and declared his intention of becoming a citizen of the United States.   That promise (called a waiver) was a big deal at the time, since the military was drafting many American men into service to fight in the civil war!

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Questions:

1) Since there are many active debates about immigration these days yet this historical fact revolves around an act thaw was ultimately repealed, do you think this bit of history should be taught in classrooms? On one hand, it is a way to tie the past to the present which could help to bring history lessons home for students like you.  On the other hand, the fact that the act was repealed takes away from its relevancy.  

2) Do an online search for ‘American Immigration During the Civil War’, and then report back: What people and cultures may have been encouraged to emigrate to the United States as a result of Lincoln’s order? 

3) Using your response to #2, answer this: How did the effect of Lincoln’s order shape the world we live in today? In other words, what about our daily American lives might be traced back to this specific order of President Lincolns?   


Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

The World War II Era
Italian-American Immigrant ‘Threat’

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An Executive Order is a type of ‘lawful order’ that a president can create without that ‘law-ish thing’ having to be a bill or get approved by congress first.  It’s not exactly a law, but people have to follow it anyway.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a very famous Executive Order: E.O. 9066.   That order – issued during World War II – led to America’s internment of its Japanese-American citizens during.  What is less well known about that order is the fact that it also forced over 10,000 Italian-Americans to relocate, and that it prevented an additional 600,000 Italian-Americans from being able to freely travel in the country!

The modern-day debates on immigration in America tend to focus on supporters asking for equal treatment of all people, while detractors (people against immigration) being concerned about immigration in general, but also expressing more focused concerns about people from Central America, South America, and the Middle East.

As the WWII order illustrates, immigration policies have affected all types of Americans throughout the country’ s history.  At the time of EO 9066, information from the US Census Bureau was used to target Italian-Americans within hours of the executive order being signed!  Events like that have even led to people being afraid of the census today (though they shouldn’t be – there are many new legal preventions in today’s world that would prevent that kind of abuse of census information).

 

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Questions:

1) What feelings do you have about how modern day America handles immigration?

2) A rare ‘There is a wrong answer to this question’ warning: Responding with ‘It doesn’t/hasn’t’ is 100% wrong.  So – How does America’s identity as ‘A Nation of Immigrants’ directly shaped / impacted your life?  Give at least three examples.

3) Read the original article that inspired this one (at the link below) and then explain: Why were Italian’s singled out during WWII along with the Japanese? What made them ‘a threat’?

BONUS :: A second rare ‘There is a wrong answer to this question’ warning: Responding with ‘It doesn’t / hasn’t’ is 100% wrong.  So – Explain how at least one American immigration law or policy directly shapes or impacts your life today. 

Here is an example (that you cannot copy or use):  The author of this article’s life is impacted by passport rules.  They want to travel to India, but first they need to renew their American Passport, which is pretty expensive!  

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/italian-americans-were-considered-enemy-aliens-world-war-ii-180962021/

A Government Hotline
& Reporting (Space) Aliens?

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In April 2017, President Trump’s administration launched a hotline for crime victims to call if they believe they were the victims of crimes committed by people that are in America illegally.  The White House’s goal was to create a means for Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents to prioritize cases to research and follow up on.

Social activists with a sense of humor felt that the President’s administration and the leadership team at ICE have been wrongfully demonizing immigrants.  Since immigrants are often referred to as ‘illegal aliens’, thousands of outraged citizens began calling the hotline to leave messages reporting plotlines from classic films featuring extraterrestrial aliens (”A small creature with a long neck, wide body, and glowing finger stole my Reese’s Pieces” or “Something jumped on my face and now I feel like my chest is about to explode” were common examples).

The subject of immigration and enforcement of immigration law is at the heart of many national debates across the country.  In fact, people are very passionate about their feelings on the subject and can often react with anger and shouting.  While the hotline may have been well intentioned, it was clearly perceived as offensive by some segments of America.  With the national debate being as intense as it is, it is nice to see that this act of protest chose humor over shouting as a way to express feelings that conflict with people on the other side of the debate.  Hopefully more laughs will help heal a divide created by divisive subjects in national conversation.

 

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Questions:

1) How do you feel about the hotline, and what causes you to feel that way?

2) Do you think there could be some benefit or are you entirely against it, and why do you feel that way?

3) What about the protesters’ decision to use humor to express their dissatisfaction with a national policy – Why and how do you find their tactics either effective or just silly?

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-04-27/trump-teams-voice-immigration-hotline-hit-with-calls-about-space-aliens

Less Borders = More Human Rights?

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Author Reece Jones’ book ‘Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move” argues that by removing borders, people have more access to human rights.  On one hand, this certainly can make sense: Without borders, people can travel freely and escape from living under governments they are scared of.  On the other hand, borders can help preserve cultures and societies.

Consider the United States: within the US are 50 states each within their own borders.  The country has a set of laws that apply to all citizens at all times.  Each state then has it’s own set of laws that may be different from the state next-door to it.  Those state laws reflect the residents’  values while the country’ s laws reflect broader values of the citizens of the nation.

Jones’ claim that less borders increases access to human rights is an interesting one that is sure to spark differing opinions.  This is… well, it’s an interesting idea! It’s also sure to stir debate – possibly even in your classroom!

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Questions:

1) Without borders, where would one state’s laws end and another begin?

2) How would you even know what state you are in?

3) What are your feelings about Jones’ idea?  Why do you think it would or would not work? What effects do you imagine it would have?

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

https://www.versobooks.com/books/2231-violent-borders




Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you


-Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
2020-12-16T22:04:09+00:00
Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you -Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity.


- Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]
Project Real
2020-12-16T21:47:04+00:00
My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity. - Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]

Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time.

- Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
2020-12-11T20:39:35+00:00
Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time. - Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]
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