Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Unit Plan: Fight for Just Immigration in a Nation of Native Americans and Immigrants

English Language Arts
This unit exposes (WIDA NEP Level 1 and 2) ELL/ESL students to the lives of Latinx, Chinese, Cambodian, and South Asian immigrants facing unjust laws and treatment, cultural barriers, poverty, gangs, and incarceration.

Students will discuss the definition of an immigrant (as it relates to different ethnicities/races); the obstacles they face in a new environment; and the obstacles they face from the government. Students will argue why immigrants today deserve to live in the United States. Students will write/discuss possible solutions governments can take to help immigrants facing deportation today. Students will write/discuss possible solutions the people can take to fight for immigrants and social justice. Students will write possible solutions people can perform to pressure the government into creating moral and ethical immigration laws.

Students will engage in academic vocabulary; critically read, analyze and discuss a variety of texts; and structure/write a creative and argumentative essay as a culminating task.

RI (Reading Standards for Informational Texts Grades 9-10)
RL (Reading Standards for Literature Grades 9-10)
SL (Speaking and Listening Standards)
W (Writing Standards)

Reading Standards for Informational Texts:
RI 9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
RI 9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums, determining which details are emphasized in each account.

Reading Standards for Literature:
RL 9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RL 9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone.

Speaking and Listening Standards:
SL 9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
a. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.
Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
SL 9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically (using appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation) such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style 
are appropriate to purpose (e.g., argument, narrative, informative, response to literature presentations), audience, and task.

Writing Standards:
W 9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
a. Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
W 9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W 9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
1. Students will understand and use academic vocabulary in context.
2. Students will use historical context to analyze an informational text’s meaning.
3. Students will synthesize multiple genres of text, for recurring themes, connections and differences.
4. Students will write a strong argumentative essay, backing up claims with specific textual evidence.
5. Students will write clearly, paying attention to organization, audience, format and purpose.
6. Students will use the writing process to develop and improve essays.
7. Students will present and discuss ideas with classmates, based upon an informational text, supporting opinions with textual detail.
1. Students will learn about the factors influencing migration to the United States.
2. Students will learn about the challenges immigrants, refugees, and undocumented individuals face.
3. Students will learn about the similarities and differences between different immigrant communities.
4. Students will learn about immigration policies that affect us to the present day.
5. Students will explore ideas of an ethical and moral immigration system.
6. Students will learn that actions are illegal, never people.
Materials provided:
1. Academic Conversation Manipulatives
2. Academic Vocabulary
3. “Cut and Match” Quotations Essay Worksheet
4. Defending the Unpopular Immigrant, Student Version
5. Defending the Unpopular Immigrant, Teacher Version
6. Essay Template Worksheet
7. “Identifying Themes” Worksheet
8. “RACES Paragraph” Student Worksheet
9. Timeline Activity Worksheet
10. Timeline Activity Student Version
11. Timeline Activity Teacher Version
12. “Unit Slides: Fight for Just Immigration”
13. “We Are More American” lyrics by Los Tigres del Norte

Videos Available Online:

1. Anderson, Brudget. Imagining a world without borders. TEDx Talks, 2011., Sep 22, 2011. Web, accessed June 10, 2017. Run Time 10:27.
2. Council on Foreign Relations. Immigration Policy and the U.S. Presidential Election. 2015., Oct 29, 2015. Web, accessed June 10, 2017. Run Time 3:06.
3. Illegal Immigration? We asked Native Americans About It. AJ+, 2015., Oct 12, 2015. Web, accessed June 10, 2017. Run Time 3:11.
4. Los Tigres Del Norte. We are More American. 2001., Jun 2, 2010. Web, accessed June 10, 2017. Run Time 3:27.
5. No One is Illegal. 2011., Apr 15, 2011. Web, accessed June 10, 2017. Run Time 3:21.
6. Takei, George. George Takei's Stark New Warning About Trump. 2016., Jul 22, 2016. Web, accessed June 10, 2017. Run Time 4:30.
7. Vargas, Jose Antonio. Actions are Illegal, Never People. TEDxMidAtlantic, 2012., Dec 10, 2012. Web, accessed June 10, 2017. Run Time 16:48.
8. Vargas, Jose Antonio. Documented. Prod. Ann Lupo, Sabrina Gordon, and Clarissa de los Reyes. CNN Films, 2011. Web, accessed June 10, 2017. Run Time 01:29:00.
9. Vargas, Jose Antonio. Undocumented Americans: Inside the Immigration Debate. Prod. Paul Moakley and Erica Fahr Campbell. TIME Magazine, 2012., Jun 14, 2012. Web, accessed June 10, 2017. Run Time 3:22.

Recommended Supplemental Material:

1. Newsela staff. Lawmaker Proposes Dropping the Word ‘alien’ to describe immigrants. Cronkite News, adapted by Newsela staff,, Nov. 25, 2015. Web, accessed June 21, 2016.
2. Newsela staff. Pro/Con – dealing with the ‘children’s border crisis. McClatchy-Tribune News Service, adapated by Newsela staff,, Aug. 18, 2014. Web, accessed June 9, 2017.

Materials Not Included:

1. Computer (to type essay)
2. Flash Cards
3. LCD Projector & Screen/White Board
4. Markers and Colored Pencils
5. Poster Paper
6. Scissors
7. Tape/Glue

Curriculum Editor:
Luis Antezana
Lesson Plan: Fight for Just Immigration in a Nation
of Native Americans and Immigrants>
Curriculum Contributors:
Prabhneek Heer,
Teofanny Saragi
Untold Civil Rights Stories Main Page >





Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI)
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday - Friday

For more information or to apply to DRAI, please call: 

Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese)  (213) 241-8872
Khmer  (213) 241-8877
Korean  (213) 241-8873
Tagalog  (213) 241-8874
Thai  (213) 241-8875
Vietnamese  (213) 241-8876
English/Other, Non-Spanish  (213) 241-8880
Spanish/English** (CARECEN)  (213) 315-2659
Spanish/English** (CHIRLA)  (213) 201-8700
 (213) 395-9547

*This list will continue to expand.
** Spanish assistance available through CARECEN & CHIRLA.
***We are experiencing heavier call volume than usual. We highly encourage you to call your native language phone line, the wait time may be shorter. 

Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.