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Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

Public Libraries Offer Services to Refugees

Edible Alphabet Students

Students of an English-as-a-Second-Language program called Edible Alphabet, offered by the Philadelphia Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center (photo used with permission by Liz Fitzgerald, Administrator, Culinary Literacy Center)

According to the U.S. State Department, America has accepted more than three million refugees since 1975. Last year, the U.S. welcomed 84,995 refugees from around the world. Currently, there has been a torrent of court filings over President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries. While courts have temporarily blocked Trump’s travel ban, the issue is far from being resolved and may even reach the U.S. Supreme Court. As an editor for SIRS Issues Researcher who works on the Immigration Leading Issue, I am following the multiple angles of this issue closely. Regardless of varying opinions on the current controversy, once refugees enter the United States legally, they often need assistance. I have always been impressed with the amazing services libraries offer the community. So I was curious as to what role libraries play in welcoming refugees who legally enter the United States.

Citizenship Corners

I have learned that libraries across the nation have often been a welcome spot for refugees and immigrants. Through a wealth of immigration services and programming, libraries play an important role in raising awareness about the naturalization process and the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship and in helping refugees and other newcomers to the U.S. participate in the broader society.

Since 2013, the Institute of Museum and Library Services has partnered with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help libraries assist refugees with immigration and citizenship information and resources. As a result of this partnership, hundreds of public libraries have set up areas known as “Citizenship Corners,” which include free brochures and immigration forms.

In addition, in 2015, the American Library Association’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table issued Guidelines for Outreach to Immigrant Populations. These guidelines for library services and programming offer ideas on how to help immigrants adjust to life in their new homeland while preserving their cultural and linguistic heritages.

Free Legal Help, Cooking Classes and More

Two such libraries that are helping immigrants and refugees are the Brooklyn Public Library and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Brooklyn Public Library offers programs for immigrants in many languages and includes citizenship classes and study groups, bilingual family arts and culture programs and courses to help immigrant businesses succeed. Additionally, the library’s immigration services include free immigration legal help with the Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC). IJC Fellows hold office hours at select branches to help immigrants file applications for citizenship and green cards as well as offer other legal support.

In addition to offering a myriad of immigration and naturalization resources, events and classes, the Free Library of Philadelphia also offers a unique six-week course via their Culinary Literacy Center called Edible Alphabet. The program uses food as a way to unite people from different cultural backgrounds and helps immigrants learn English through cooking lessons. According to Liz Fitzgerald, the Administrator of the Culinary Literacy Center, the meals they prepare include a smoothie, carrot coriander soup, panzanella, pancakes, pasta primavera, and chana masala. The library partners with a non-profit organization called the Nationalities Service Center (NSC), which has been helping immigrants and refugees in the Greater Philadelphia area since the 1920s.

Tell Us Your Story

Does your library offer services to refugees? If so, drop us a line in the comments section below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

Immigration and the Emergency Quota Act of 1921

Emergency Quota Act of 1921 Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Emergency Quota Act of 1921 Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Immigration has been a part of American history … well, since the beginning of American history. America is a nation of immigrants. The Spanish were the first to settle in America with the first permanent European settlement at St. Augustine, Florida. Forty-two years later in 1607, the first English settlement began in Jamestown, Virginia with the first African slaves arriving in 1619. The Dutch, Germans, French and Irish soon followed and since then people from all over the world have immigrated to America.

As the number of immigrants to the United States began to swell year after year calls for restricting the influx came.  The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first piece of legislation to “narrow the opening through which immigrants came.”  The turning point in immigration restriction occurred in 1921 with the passage of the Emergency Quota Act.  Expected to be a temporary measure, the Act set the quota at 3% annually for new immigrants based on their country’s population in the United States as counted in the 1910 census.  These restrictions became known as the National Origins Formula.  Revisions would take place in 1924 with a drop in quota to 2%.  Quota restrictions based on this formula remained in place for the next 40 years until 1965.  During this time, there was a significant reduction in the number of immigrants to the United States.  In addition, historians believe these restrictions led to the first cases of illegal immigration.

Once again immigration, legal and illegal, quotas and restrictions, is prominent in the American political landscape.  As the 2016 Presidential campaign and election unfolds, use eLibrary to keep up with the latest news regarding immigration policy and candidate stances, and to study the history, impact and legacy of immigration and American immigration policy and legislation.

2016 Election Issue: Immigration Reform

Immigration is a key issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. Opinions differ on how to secure our border with Mexico, on whether to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants already in our country, on how to handle the Syrian refugee crisis, and on whether or not to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants.

ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher can help students gain a better understanding of issues surrounding immigration with the Immigration Leading Issue. Our editorially-selected articles and graphics provide differing viewpoints on such questions as: Is the anti-immigrant movement racist?, Should migrants and refugees be forced to assimilate into their new country?, Is enhanced border security the best solution for human smuggling?, Should immigrants who are in the country illegally be allowed to remain in the U.S.?, Is employing immigrants who are in the country illegally beneficial to the U.S. economy?, and more.

The Immigration Timeline provides a comprehensive chronicle of events and legislation concerning immigration throughout the history of the U.S., with links to articles, images, and primary source documents that enable students to gain a deeper understanding of how our country evolved.

Photograph from Ellis Island, New York

This photograph from the 1920s shows immigrants being physically examined by inspectors at Ellis Island, New York. Ellis Island was one of the main gateways through which immigrants passed in order to begin their new lives in America. National Archives [public domain] via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

While students may know that our nation was built by immigrants, they may be surprised to learn that anti-immigration feelings pervaded much of our history and were so widespread in the early 20th century that there was even a popular song expressing the sentiment of the time: “O! Close the Gates”. Newspaper articles from this time period, which can be found by searching Primary Sources, also provide a first-hand account of public opinion at the time (Coolidge Proclaims Immigrant Quotas, Intelligence of Our Immigrants).

Encourage your students to use ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher to not only understand the current debate on Election 2016 issues but also to explore the issues from a historical perspective.

 

Rank the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Issues

Vote!

Vote up or down to rank the following 15 issues, which get re-ordered in real-time. (If you can’t view the list below in your browser, you can also view it on Playbuzz.)

 

Teach the Election

With the presidential election dominating the news, now is the perfect time to engage future voters with projects and debates on the candidates and where they stand on important issues.  ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher provides students with both editorially-created and selected content that will equip your students with the research and understanding they need to prepare for debates and other assignments. Direct your students to our Election 2016 issue, which contains an overview, timeline, essential question and other resources. If your students are researching a specific issue, such as Gun Control, Immigration or Economic Inequality, show them the A-Z List or have them type the issue in the search box.

Tell Us What You’re Doing

Are you and your class doing a project or debate about the election? If so, let us know what you’re doing in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

SIRS Leading Issues Promote Global Cultural Literacy

Your students may all want to move to France after reading this article about proposed legislation that would eliminate homework for French primary school pupils!

SIRS Issues Researcher’s Leading Issues allow users to explore global perspectives on scores of diverse topics like Abortion, Education Policy, Elections, Gay Rights, Health Care, Immigration and more. In our rapidly changing and shrinking world, the need for improved global education is increasingly apparent. SIRS Issues Researcher’s editors review and select articles from more than 375 international publications. Access these international viewpoints by selecting the Global Impact icon under Research Tools for each Leading Issue.

The article results list can then be sorted by relevance, date, or lexile score, or users can view the three editorially-selected feature articles at the top of the page…and maybe start planning that move to France.

Au Revoir!