Talking and Teaching about the US Supreme Court Ruling – September 11, 2019 

by Aakanksha Gupta

On September 11, 2019, the US Supreme Court authorized President Trump to deny asylum to migrants at the southern border. This order permits the administration to enforce the third country rule, requiring refugees to seek asylum in a safe country prior to reaching the US. As one of many recent policy measures to restrict immigration, this would drastically reduce asylum applications from migrants traveling through Central America. Migrants seeking asylum hail from Africa, Asia and South America, and many are fleeing violence and environmental catastrophes. We will update this page as the story unfolds. 

Here at Re-imagining Migration, we have compiled a selection of articles about this recent development to help guide classroom discussions on these topics:


Opinions & Editorials:

Supreme Court:

Educators, as we reflect on the impact of this recent news, we invite you to consider these questions from the Re-imagining Migration Learning Arc:

  1. Why do people leave their homes? 
  2. What is the purpose of borders?
  3. How do the visible and invisible borders people encounter shape their lives?
  4. How can borders work in an ethical way?
  5. What are the rights of people on the move with ambiguous status (not clearly recognized by the State)?
  6. Who is responsible for people on the move with an ambiguous status?
  7. What is a nation’s responsibility to people on the move with ambiguous statuses? 
  8. How should nations decide who can settle and who cannot?

Additional questions: 

  1. How might we balance the ethical, legal and social considerations in discussions around asylum? 
  2. The question of safety is an important one in these discussions. What does a “safe” country constitute? Who decides this? 
  3. What is the responsibility of communities to such individuals, especially those fleeing dangerous situations? 

Background & Relevant Resources

Looking back: migration has been a fundamental part of the shared human experience well before human beings created national borders, walls and boundaries. In our resource, Talking and Teaching about Walls and Borders, we provide historical context and discuss President Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. We also encourage fellow educators to take a step back to explore the significance of borders, walls and boundaries with their students. In our more recent collection, Reflecting on Guatemala, Migration and Asylum, we use reflection questions and a range of news articles to address President Trump’s initiatives to decrease the number of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border. Specifically, we look at the agreement the US government signed with Guatemala to establish it as a “safe third country”.