RIPR in the Classroom: Travel Ban Splits Families

Aug 14, 2017

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Baha Sadr, head of refugee resettlement programs for Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, left, with resettled refugee Ali from Iraq.
Credit RIPR file photo

Story Synopsis

President Donald Trump’s executive order to stop travel from seven Muslim-majority nations, including Iraq, has affected many refugees waiting to travel to the US. The ban particularly affects those refugees who were initially approved for resettlement but then denied entry under the travel ban. These refugees gave up their current housing and everything they owned in preparation to come to the US and are now waiting. Listen to learn more about these refugee stories, including the experience of one man from Iraq who worked for the US Army. He and his family, who have resettled in the US, are waiting for one of his daughters to join them.

Use with grades 6-9

Common Core State Standards CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.3: Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Assign these questions to your students or answer them together in a group.

  1. What are the challenges facing refugees who had been approved for resettlement but then were denied entry under the travel ban?
  2. Why do many Iraqi refugees want to come to the United States?
  3. What are some of the steps involved in the vetting process that determines which refugees are granted resettlement?
  4. How have local communities shown their support for refugees?

Discussion Themes

Use these questions to get students thinking at the beginning of class. They can use evidence from the story to support their ideas during a class discussion.

  1. What do you think should happen to the refugees who are “in limbo”? Whose responsibility do you think it is support them?
  2. How would you feel to be separated from your family and not know how long it will be before you see them again?
  3. Do you think the process should be changed, or stay the way it is?

More Resources

Curriculum Connections:

  • How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, Julia Alvarez (1991)
  • The Namesake: A Novel, Jhumpa Lahiri (2004)
  • First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants, edited by Donald R. Gallo (2004)
  • What is the What, Dave Eggers (2006)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith