WAC Summer Institute: Sharing Perspectives on Immigration

This conversation guide accompanies the Wednesday, August 5th session of the World Affairs Council Summer Institute.  The purpose of this guide is to learn and practice civil discourse skills, using the complex topic of immigration policy as a backdrop.
Round 1 (~5 minutes)

Get to know each other

Each student should take 1-2 minutes to choose and answer one of the following questions:

  • If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
  • If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal in?
  • What hobby or activity would you try if money were no obstacle?
Round 2 (~15 minutes)

Listen and share to understand

Each student should take 3-4 minutes to choose and answer one of the following questions:

  • What is your family's immigration story? 
  • What does immigration look like in your community? 
  • What do you see as the most pressing issues or problems related to the immigration?
Round 3 (~15 minutes)

Deliberate on a policy question

In the assigned reading, you were asked to review a range of policy options. Each student should answer the following question:

Based on what you've read and heard, which of these policies would you prioritize, and why? 
  • Establish a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country
  • Pass the DREAM Act
  • Mandate nationwide use of E-Verify system by all employers to confirm legal status of employees
  • Reform visa system to allow more high-skilled immigrants
  • Increase border security, possibly including completion of a border wall
  • Detain individuals/families who are seeking asylum while their claims are being processed
As a group (time permitting) - if your group reached consensus quickly on 1-2 priorities, then discuss how you would convince someone with different priorities to join your consensus view.
Round 4 (~10 minutes)

Reflect and share takeaways

Each student should take 2-3 minutes to choose and answer one of the following questions:

  • In one sentence, share what was most valuable to you in this conversation.
  • What new learning or appreciation do you have after joining this conversation? 
  • What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?