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Difficult Conversations on Immigration
Difficult Conversations on Immigration

Difficult Conversations on Immigration

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Time & Location

Jul 16, 2024, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT


About the event

Why is this important: Immigration issues were are the center of the 2020 presidential election as they related to building walls, border camps, and the mistreatment of children and adults seeking asylum in the U.S. The discussions often turn negative and move into slurs, objectified language, and threats of violence. This program will offer an important context to better prepare for these conversations and understand how this debate takes shape.

Program overview: This program will draw from the book, How to Engage in Difficult Conversations on Identity, Race, and Politics in Higher Education, to better prepare teachers, faculty, administrators, and human resources to engage in these difficult conversations more effectively. As with several of the topics discussed already, the impact of COVID-19 remains a central one in the escalation of an already difficult subject. Anti-Asian hate related to the pandemic rose to include hate speech, discrimination, and incidents of violence. Immigrants as a whole are often targeted through scapegoat theory, where a person or group is targeted with assumptions about their work ethic while their relative position in society regarding advantage is largely ignored. The discussion will also include a review of nationalism and employment pressures and concerns. Emotional and cultural intelligence will once again serve as a backdrop for civil discourse in this debate. Special focus on the roles of immigrants in the workplace and pathways to citizenship will be discussed in the context of employment decisions, fair wage, human resources, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

Group exercises, case examples and sample discussion questions will be provided to further the conversation. Some examples of reflective exercises, discussion questions (basic, exploration and future actions), and a sample case example are included here.

REFLECTIVE EXERCISE: What does the American Dream mean to you? Typically, it is defined by upward mobility and access. Trace your family ancestry. Talk with older relatives and find out what country of origin your ancestors traveled from and why they chose to make the United States their home.


BASIC: Identify some ways we each define ourselves by our history. Expand this to ideas of family, parents, and grandparents.

FUTURE APPLICATION: We live in a society that expresses concerns about immigrants taking our blue-collar jobs and/or immigrants coming here and having children that make use of the education system to take more white-collar jobs. There is not clear evidence of this and in fact, the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that we have a shortage of blue-collar workers. Discuss the disconnect here.

EXPLORATION: Are there valid concerns related to having a more open immigration policy? If you oversaw such a policy, outline the pros and cons on creating a more welcoming policy versus one that is more restrictive.

CASE: An outspoken political studies faculty member on your campus takes a positive view of nationalism and makes these arguments frequently in their class. They have mentioned on several occasions they stand against any form of hate or violence and do not support white supremacist beliefs. They make the argument for a return to U.S. skilled labor, reduction in dependance on foreign oil, and investing in U.S. schools. Students begin to protest the professor’s classes, calling him a neo-Nazi and saying, “anyone who has to go out of his way to say they don’t support white supremacy because what they are saying is confused with white supremacist beliefs is pretty much a white supremist.”

Develop a list of points on both sides of this debate. How would you approach this issue on campus? What student code of conduct rules would be useful to review related to these issues.

Participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the immigration debate from various perspectives and be able to articulate key points in each of these areas.
  • Explore and be aware of their personal preferences and feelings on the topic of immigration and how they can add and subtract from their ability to moderate a heated discussion.
  • Review the historical underpinning’s of immigration as it relates to education and work in the U.S. and how this history relates to the current arguments.

Program includes:

  • Online access to the live 90-minute program.
  • A recorded version* of the program on along with test questions and a compliance report for the administrator of a department, college, or university.
  • Three interactive sample exercises to encourage discussion in school, college, and workplace settings.
  • A summary document offering a review of key points on the topic of immigration as they impact schools, college/higher education and the workplace.
  • A checklist for human resource staff to address common office tensions related to immigration.
  • An overview document outlining some key statistics related to hate crimes focused on immigrant groups.
  • Discussion questions for group interaction and community engagement to continue after the live program.

* Access for one year after the date of the live program. Additional year(s) access available for 20% purchase price.


  • Individual

    For group pricing or to purchase the full series, contact




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