Current Issues Lesson 2: The Debate Over Guest-Worker Programs

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Time: One class period

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Overview: In this activity, students evaluate various proposals to amend the system of visas given to immigrants in guest-worker programs. They discuss the proposals and decide which are best and worst, with reasons for each decision.

• A class set of the article "The Debate Over Guest-Worker Programs"
• A class set of Handout A
• A class set of Handout B

Step One. Reading and Discussion: Ask students to read the article "The Debate Over Guest-Worker Programs." When they finish, hold a discussion using the questions at the end of the reading.

Step Two. Divide the class into groups of four or five students. Tell them that each group is an advisory committee with the task of advising the president on a proposed new guest-worker law to present to Congress. The committee must decide what the proposed law should be.

Step Three. Distribute Handouts A and B. Briefly review the instructions with them. Explain that students are to rank the four proposals and come up with reasons for their rankings. Give the groups a time limit to complete the worksheets and prepare their remarks to the class.

Step Four. As each group presents its rankings, keep a tally of the rankings on the board.

Step Five. Debrief by asking students:

  • Do you think the U.S. needs to make any changes to the guest-worker system? Why or why not?
  • Is there one kind of visa that seems more important to the U.S. economy than another? Why or why not?

Additional Debriefing Questions:

  • Was it difficult for any group to reach consensus? Why or why not?
  • Was it difficult choosing the best proposal? The worst proposal? Why or why not?

Did you have to persuade others in your group to your position? If so, what worked well in persuading them?

Lesson Plan 1 Lesson Handouts 1
Lesson Plan 2
Lesson Handouts 2
Lesson Plan 3
Lesson Handouts 3
Lesson Plan 4
Lesson Handouts 4
Lesson Plan 5
Lesson Handouts 5