Re-Imagining Migration believes that teaching about current events, like the end of Title 42, is part of a well-rounded approach to civic education. Below we have provided a curated resource collection framed by questions from the Re-Imagining Migration Learning Arc. Educators might use the resources as part of an independent inquiry or a lesson. We have also suggested a few Project Zero thinking routines you might use to help students explore the resources along with others you might use to begin a classroom discussion.
However you choose to adapt the material to your classroom, ensure that you have set clear expectations and norms for civil conversation. This is particularly important because polarized perspectives about migration are too often expressed using stereotypes. There are many models for creating classroom norms for discussion. Here is one from Facing History and Ourselves.
Use this resource for additional suggestions about teaching current events about migration.
In March 2020, the Trump Administration implemented Title 42 in the early days of the COVID pandemic. According to PBS News Hour, “Title 42 was created to address public health and social welfare and grants the government the ability to take emergency action in numerous ways, including to “stop the introduction of communicable diseases.” While the code has been in place for decades, it was used widely beginning in March 2020 by the administration of then-President Donald Trump in order to regulate border crossings under the premise of increased COVID-19 precautions.” Under Title 42, border agents turned away asylum seekers without a hearing.
In April 2022, National Public Radio’s Deepa Shivaram explained:
Title 42 comes from a federal law that dates back to 1944 meant to help prevent the spread of communicable disease. It’s what essentially gave authority to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take emergency action in March 2020, allowing immigration authorities to quickly expel migrants and denying entry to asylum seekers.
The 1944 Public Health Service Act established an administrative structure for the country to deal with national and international health problems that could arise, both in war-time and in peace. Back then, tuberculosis was a major public health threat to the nation, and the Public Health Service Act helped provide grants for research and treatment of the disease. It also did things like establish the National Cancer Institute under the National Institutes of Health.
Overall, it’s pretty obscure — and definitely not a measure imagined to operate as central to the debate over immigration and asylum law
As of May 11, 2023, Title 42 will expire now that the public health emergency is over. Concerns have been raised about the U.S. government’s ability to properly process asylum claims without the support of Title 42. To address this issue, the U.S. government has proposed a series of new measures that would maintain some border restrictions while also providing opportunities for individuals to schedule asylum hearings prior to arriving at the border. It remains unclear how these changes will impact the thousands of migrants awaiting asylum and admission into the United States. Unfortunately, misinformation, stereotypes, and myths often prevent a clear understanding of what is happening at the Southern border.
We have organized the resources below with questions from the Re-Imagining Migration Learning Arc.
Why do people leave their homes?
- Root Causes of Central Americans’ Migration to U.S., Voice of America, January 12, 2022
- Explainer: Why migrants are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in record numbers, Reuters, January 9, 2023
- Inside the boom in Chinese migrants at the southern border, Axios, March 29, 2023
How do borders impact people’s lives?
- Desperate migrants are choosing to cross the border through dangerous U.S. desert, NPR, May 3, 2023
- U.S. anticipates an increase in asylum-seekers as Title 42 is set to end, NPR, May 3, 2023
- How border communities are preparing for increase in migrants as deportation policy ends, PBS NewsHour, May 3, 2023
How do the visible and invisible borders that people encounter shape their lives?
- Migrants wait along the border seeking entry into U.S. ahead of the expiration of Title 42, CBS 8 San Diego, May 7, 2023
- What to know about Title 42, the Trump-era policy now central to the border debate, NPR from April 22.
- Asylum dreams remain elusive for tens of thousands of migrants bused to New York, NPR, March 12, 2023
How do individuals and societies navigate ambiguous status?
- Mayorkas announces plan to open migration centers in other countries in bid to slow surge, PBS NewsHour, April 27, 2023
- Biden administration to limit asylum to migrants who pass through a 3rd nation, PBS NewsHour, February 21, 2023
- Biden sending 1,500 troops for Mexico border migrant surge, AP, May 2, 2023
- US Government Announces Sweeping New Actions to Manage Regional Migration, from the U.S. State Department and Homeland Security
What are the rights of people with ambiguous status (people who are not clearly recognized by the State)?
- Refugees and Asylum, USCIS
- Axios Explains: Seeking asylum in the U.S., Axios, April 6, 2023,
- Asylum: Who gets in, New York Times, May 11, 2023
- Fact Sheet: U.S. Asylum Process, National Immigration Forum
Suggested Project Zero Thinking Routines to use with these sources
- See Feel Think Wonder: A thinking routine for nurturing close observation, curiosity, and self-awareness
- Connect – Extend – Challenge: A thinking routine for connecting new ideas to prior knowledge
- By whom, about whom, for whom?: A thinking routine to make power and positions visible
- What makes you say that?: A thinking routine for building explanations
- Parts, People & Interactions: A thinking routine to slow down and look closely at a system
- Step In – Step Out – Step Back: A thinking routine to take social/cultural perspective responsibly
- Who Benefits? :A thinking routine to gauge and respond to inequities