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Students learning important lessons about immigrants' lives

There is little doubt that greater uncertainty than normal surrounds many immigration issues today. People are less sure of where they stand in family-based immigration matters, employment-based immigration, deportation issues, refugee status and more.

One of the ways to deal effectively with uncertainty and worry is to remember that our children offer hope for a better tomorrow. We read recently of teachers far from us in Staten Island who are trying to help kids understand immigrants' lives.

Far west of New York sits Hartley Elementary School in Waseca, Minnesota. That is where third graders have been learning about immigration.

One of the ways teachers are trying to prod the kids to think about immigrant lives was to bring elements of art, reading and writing into the lessons, as well as to make the topic personal by asking the children what they would bring along if they were to move to a different country.

"Rather than sitting down and doing a worksheet on immigration, this really affected students by giving them the chance to step into somebody else's shoes," a teacher said.

One of the young students said she learned about Ellis Island and other parts of the immigration system. "I didn't know about what processes they had to go through."

Students were also exposed to storytelling that makes use of textiles to create story quilts. The story quilts included depictions of the experiences of a Russian family and someone in a refugee camp.

Hopefully, one day one of the students will improve immigration law and the system of acquiring permanent resident status and citizenship.

If you have questions about these matters or other immigration issues, contact an experienced attorney for more information.


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