The Topic:

Easier - Immigration is the voluntary movement of people from one country to live permanently in another.
Harder - Immigration is the act of leaving one's country to settle in another foreign country. People find it very hard to pull up roots in their native land and move to a strange country. But throughout history, countless millions of people have done so.
People move to another country for various reasons. Some leave their homeland to avoid starvation or to escape unbearable family situations. Many move to avoid revolution and war. Others are escaping religious or political persecution. Some immigrants were brought to a new land against their will, as slaves. Some immigrate to be reunited with their loved ones. Some move in search of adventure. Throughout history, the number one reason has always been economic opportunity - - the search for better land or a better job. Recently, many professional people have emigrated because of better opportunities elsewhere.
Immigration to the U.S.A. 1860-1960
This is a comprehensive information source for encyclopedia articles on immigration.
Immigration to the United States 1876-1900 from the Library of Congress
In the late 1800s, people in many parts of the world decided to leave their homes and immigrate to the U. S. Fleeing crop failure, land and job shortages, rising taxes, and famine, many came to the U. S. because it was perceived as the land of economic opportunity.
Related Websites at the Library of Congress:
2) Chinese Immigration to the United States 1851-1900
3) Immigration in American Memory
New Americans at PBS (Grades 7-12)
This website is an online adventure tied to the television mini-series that explores the immigrant experience through the personal stories of a number of individuals. The site includes an excellent teacher's section.
U.S. Immigration from the Internet Modern History Sourcebook
This is a comprehensive resource page with links and articles related to U.S. immigration.
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of these activities:
Complete An Immigration WebQuest. Follow or adapt the procedures found at one of the dozen webQuest sites below:
1) American Dream: Immigration to America by F. Rodrigues
2) Ellis Island Journal Project (Grade 4)
3) Gold Mountain: Real Gold or Fools Gold?
4) Immigrants from Germany
5) Immigration Experience
6) Immigration to America by G.M. Ellars (Grades 9-12)
7) Immigration: Promise or Problem by D. R. McCaulley
8) Immigration Today by S. Hovanesian (Grades 10-12)
9) Immigration WebQuest
10) Immigration WebQuest
11) Pattern of Migration: A Perspective from Jordon by Mr. Barnwell (Grade 8)
12) Port of Entry at American Memory
Write An Emigrant Story. Pretend that you are leaving your homeland or have already relocated to your new country. You can choose to live anywhere in the world. Write a story explaining what you are learning, problems that you are encountering, and your feelings. Imagine what it would be like.
Trace Your Family's Migration. Research your own family background to find where your family has historically lived and how they have moved. Map the patterns. How many different countries are represented? Compare your family's movement to those of your friends and classmates.
Create A Immigration Timeline. Show the history of immigration to the country. Include information (Date, numbers of persons) on the major waves of emigrants.
Debate Immigration Issues. Visit sites like National Immigration Forum and Federation for American Immigration Reform to research opposing viewpoints on immigration. You may want to confine your debate to issues related to the U.S. and Mexico. Another debate scenario; a new student comes to school and you become their best friend. They confide in you that their parents are illegal aliens. What should you do? What would you do?
Write A Migration Story of the Future. Imagine that you are living two hundred years in the future. Write a story about migrating to a new home. Describe how you would travel, what things you would take along, where you would be going, what things might be the same as they are today, and what will be different.
Get Practical. Its Time To Go. You and your family are moving to a new country (You can choose wherever you like). Plan your trip. Decide how you will travel and estimate the distance, time required, and cost of travel. Oh by the way, you are limited to taking only 250 lbs. of personal possessions. Decide what you will take; make an itemized list that includes the weight of your items.
Convince Someone Else to Move. Write a pretend letter to a relative overseas. Tell them all the reasons that they should move to where you live. Alternative activity: make a poster promoting immigration to your locale.
Write An Emigrant Diary. Choose any one of the many immigration waves to the United States; i.e., 19th century Chinese, 20th century refugee from Vietnam or Indochina, Latino from Mexico or Central America - - you can pick the homeland, the culture, and the time period. Write a diary that describes your journey and tells what you find in your new country.
Compare and Contrast U.S. and Canada's Immigration History. Examine the immigration patterns in the two neighboring countries. How were they alike and in what ways did they differ?
Make An Immigration Procedures List. What steps are needed to legally enter and become a citizen of the United States. Think in terms of meeting government requirements, time frames needed, and all possible health considerations. Identify any bottlenecks or problem areas. You will find lots of help at sites like Immigration and Naturalization Services and Immigrant Rights from the American Civil Liberties Union.
Websites By Kids For Kids
American Immigration (Grades 9-12) by J. Lee and R. Siemborski
This comprehensive site includes identifying the reasons for immigration, who they are, peaks/waves, transportation methods, ports of entry, processing, destinations, treatment/reception, effects/impact, assimilation, legal/illegal immigrants, and lots more.
Coming to America Past and Present (2001 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
This site provides a look at the difference between immigrants coming to the United States in the past and today.
Ellis Island: Gateway to America (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
This website provides historical information about the Ellis Island Immigration Station.
Filipino and Chinese Immigration to Hawaii - Our Roots
(1998 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
This website tells of the 120,000 Filipinos who immigrated to Hawaii between 1906- 1931.
From One Life to Another - The History of European Immigration
(1999 ThinkQuest Project)
This website about immigration to the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries focuses on Irish, Jewish, Italian, and Swedish immigration.
Immigration Museum Online (1997 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
Historical photos and personal stories highlight this genealogy site. Students interviewed people in their local communities to gain insight into their family histories.
Immigration: The Living Mosaic of People Culture, and Hope
(1998 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
The United States is a nation of immigrants, and the entry of millions of those immigrants over time is the story told at this web site.
Immigration to the United States (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
This project looks at why people immigrated to the United States, where they came from, and what they did once they got here.
Mosaic of Immigrants to America: Foundation of a Multicultural Society
(1998 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
This site is about the brave men and women who left their home countries and took on a terrifying journey to find freedom, liberty, and a new life in the USA.
Pursuit of Happiness: How to Become A Citizen
This online slide show is intended to help immigrants pass the INS citizenship exam.
Sugar Plantation Days (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
The website is about how people of different cultures from around the world came to work and live with each other on a sugar plantation.
Lots More Immigration Websites
American Family Immigration History Center: Ellis Island
More than 22 million passengers and members of ships' crews entered the U. S. through Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924. Information about each person was written down in ships' passenger lists, known as 'manifests.' Now you can search these millions of records for information on individual Ellis Island passengers.
Other Ellis Island Websites:
2) Doctors at the Gate : The U.S. Public Health Service at Ellis Island
3) Electronic Ellis Island: A Virtual Heritage Museum
4) Ellis Island from the National Park Services
5) Ellis Island from the History Channel
6) Immigrant Journal
7) Immigration, Ellis Island (Photograph Collection, University of California)
8) Immigration Web Quest by G. Hall (Grade 5)
9) Interactive Tour of Ellis Island from Scholastic
10) Virtual Ellis Island Tour
Angel Island
For 30 years, Angel Island served as a western point of entry to the United States for many immigrants. Like Ellis Island in New York, it processed the entry of people from different parts of the world. Unlike Ellis I island, it also served as a prison for hundreds of Chinese immigrants.
Other Angel Island Websites:
2) Angel Island
3) Angel Island: A Hell for Some Who Sought the Gold Mountain
4) Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation
Canada Before 1891 from The Peopling of Canada: 1891-1921, Univ. of Calgary
Other Sections of the Online Text:
2) Canada in 1891
3) Settlement Era
4) Boom Years: 1901-191
Canadian Settlement Patterns (Chapt. 5, Vol. I, Canada Heirloom Series)
This online text provides an overview of immigration to Canada during the 1800's starting first with information on each region of Canada (starting on the east coast and working westwards) and then giving summaries on various ethnic communities.
Related Websites:
2) About Canada: Multiculturalism in Canada
3) Carolyn's Canadian Immigration Information
4) Children of Immigrants &emdash; How Do They Fare? by T. Brown from Economica
5) Frequently Asked Questions about Independent Immigration To Canada
6) Immigrants to Canada: Emigration Information of the Nineteenth Century
7) Immigrating to Canada from Citizenship and Immigration Canada
8) Pier 21 - Halifax, Canada
Chinese by H. K. Norton at the Museum of the City of San Francisco
This webpage provides a historical perspective of anti-Chinese hatred and the California Gold Rush.
Related Websites:
2) 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
3) Chinese Americans from the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation
4) Chinese Canadian Story: The Yip Sang Family
5) Chinese Immigration (British Columbia)
6) Gold Rush: Collision of Cultures from PBS
Federation for American Immigration Reform
This website from the largest anti-immigration organization presents views opposed to immigrants.
Germans in America from the Library of Congress
This website provides information about immigration from the German-speaking world to the United States, and about the activities of German immigrants in the United States from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
Related Websites:
2) 19th Century German Immigration In Historical Context
3) Emigration Port Hamburg
4) German-Americans from Deutsche Welle Radio
5) German Immigration to Texas by T. Gold
Here and There, Holding On to the Homeland from the New York Times
Most immigrants base themselves more fully here, but maintain ties so vital that their homeland is a part of their American-born children's identity.
How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York by J. A. Riis
Here is the complete online version of the 1890 classic study of tenement life.
Related Websites:
2) Living Conditions for Immigrants http://www.people.Virginia.EDU/~eas5e/Sadlier/Life.html
3) Immigrant Neighborhoods (Photographs at Library of Congress)
4) Lower East Side Tenement Museum
5) On the Lower East Side: Observations of Life in Lower Manhattan at the Turn of the Century by W. Crozier, C. Chambers, P. Costello, C. Gaffield, & B. Stadium
Immigrant and Ethnic America from Harpers Weekly
This website provides a detailed look at the often shameful treatment of various immigrant and ethnic groups in the 19th century - - as they were featured in the Harpers Weekly.
Immigration from The Atlantic Monthly Online
This is the site of an articles archive on immigration issues.
Other Related Articles:
2) Can We Still Afford to Be a Nation of Immigrants? by D. M. Kennedy
from The Atlantic Monthly Online
3) Few Visas Go to `Best, Brightest:' INS Figures Debunk Businesses' Claims from the San Francisco Chronicle
4) Immigration from U.S. News Online
5) Immigration: The Perpetual Controversy from the Atlantic Monthly Online
Immigration and Naturalization Services
This government office provides information on immigration services and benefits, legislation updates, and news on border management.
Related Websites:
2) Immigration Index (Links-site)
3) Immigrant and Refugee Services of America
4) Immigrant Rights from the American Civil Liberties Union
5) National Immigration Forum
6) U.S. Citizenship Test
7) Visa Services from U.S. State Department
Immigration Stories
This a collection of immigrant's stories of persons from Mexico, Vietnam, and Laos.
Similar Immigrant Story Sites:
2) Immigration: Stories of Yesterday & Today from Scholastic
3) Letters from An Immigrant
4) Refugee Transitions: Our Stories
Immigration to 1965 from the History Channel
This article summarizes immigration to America from Plymouth Rock in the seventeenth century to Ellis Island in the twentieth.
Related Webpages from the History Channel:
2) American Response to the Holocaust
3) Chinese Exclusion
2) Chinese Exclusion Act
3) Ethnicity
3) Gentleman's Agreement
4) Immigration
3) Immigration Restriction League
4) Nativism
In English, Please! from the Swedish Emigrant Institute
Transoceanic immigration brought more than 1.2 million Swedes to North America. This exodus stands out as one of the greatest in Europe - Sweden's intensity of emigration was only exceeded by that of Ireland and Norway, and one out of six Swedish-born people lived in the US in 1900.
International Migration from the World Resources Institute
Here is a brief article on recent worldwide migration trends.
Related Websites:
2) Center for Immigration Studies
3) History of International Migration from Leiden University
4) International Organization for Migration
5) Migration Dialogue
6) United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Irish In America: Long Journey Home from PBS
This is the companion website for the television series chronicling the triumphant role the Irish have played in shaping America.
Militarization of the Border (Part 1) from Immigration and Human Rights on the U.S.
/Mexico Border (Published in In Motion Magazine September 14, 1997)
Here is a summary of an interview with Roberto Martinez, San Diego, California. Martinez is director of the U.S. / Mexico Border Program, an immigration law enforcement monitoring project of the American Friends Service Committee.
Related Websites:
2) In Search of Work (Part 2)
3) Needs of Agribusiness (Part 3)
4) From Taking Lands to Building Triple Fences (Part 4)
Another Interview Series with Maria Jiménez, Houston, Texas, on the
Militarization of the U.S.- Mexico Border:
5) Border Communities Respond to Militarization (Part 1)
6) From Slave Patrol to Border Patrol (Part 2)
Other Related Websites:
7) 29 Illegal Immigrants Found Hiding in Van by K. Klein, The Desert Sun
8) Border Crossing Data from Bureau of Transportation Statistics
9) Brown Power, Pyramid Style
10) Mario Obledo Calls for Burning of Anti-Immigrant Sign
11) Proposition 187 by A. Alonso
12) U.S. Border Patrol Under the Gun to Stop Illegal Immigrants
from CNN Interactive
Migration in History
This links-site connects to resources on the historical movements of people.
National Immigration Forum
This is the website of an organization whose purpose is to embrace and uphold America's tradition as a nation of immigrants.
Not To-Be-Missed Sections:
2) Current Immigration Issues
3) Immigration Facts
New Immigration (Student essay at
Between 1880 and World War I, about 22 million men, women, and children entered the United States.
Resources for Teachers and Students from the Immigration and Naturalization Service
This is a comprehensive links-site that connects to great resources on immigration.
Other Not To-Be-Missed Websections at INS:
2) Changing Immigrant Names
Short History of U.S. Immigration Policy from Sacks & Kolken Immigration Lawyers
U.S. immigration policy has been one of great openness, punctuated by periods of restriction. Legal immigration has evolved today into a highly-regulated system that allows American families to sponsor close relatives and employers to hire immigrants with important skills, while permitting U.S. foreign policy to remain flexible in accepting refugees and those seeking asylum.
Websites for Teachers
Family History (Grades 5-12) by P. Harames
The purpose of this assignment is to develop in students the understanding that America is politically, ethnically, culturally, and economically a 'Nation of Immigrants.'
Home Away From Home: Investigating Your City's Immigration History
(Grades 6-12) from the New York Times
Students will work in small groups to create 'immigration profiles' of the nationalities of immigrants reflected in their community's or city's population.
Immigrant Experience in America (Grades 5-8)
Students will learn about immigration, Ellis Island, and tenement life from 1890 to 1924. Each student will create an identity of an immigrant and write an essay in the first person. Essays will describe the fictitious immigrants in terms of who they are, where they came from, and what they found when they arrived in New York City.
Immigration: Stories of Yesterday and Today at Scholastic (Grades 4-8)
Students will learn the various reasons people come to America through oral histories of recent and historic immigrants. Students also discover one of the most important aspects of American immigration history &emdash; Ellis Island as the preeminent immigration port of the early 1900s.
In the Melting Pot: Understanding the Immigration Process (Grades 6-12) from the New York Times
In this lesson, students work in small groups, each group examining a different aspect of the immigration process (such as visas, work permits, and citizenship exams) or of illegal immigration (such as deportation), to better understand the immigration process in the United States.
Introduction to Immigration (Grades 6-12)
Students read and discuss selected library resources about children and immigration. They develop an understanding of the concept of immigration and reasons why people immigrate.
Other Lessons in the Ellis Island Unit:
2) Immigration Explorations
3) Internet Research
4) Creative Writing/Historical Journals
5) Final Reports
'They Are Not Like Us!': Teaching about Biases Against Immigration (Grades 9-12)
This exercise helps students understand that xenophobic attitudes have existed throughout United States history and that our culture has survived and been enriched by each new wave of immigrants.
Think Like An Immigrant
Pretend you have to go live in another country. What country would you go to and why? If you could only take five of your possessions along. What would you bring and why would you bring them? What items would you leave behind and why?
border crossing
civil war
Industrial Revolution
port of entry
illegal immigrant
'melting pot'
work permit
ship's manifest
displaced person
native country
'brain drain'
economic opportunity
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 9/01.