Lesson Plan

Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

Protestors in front of U.S. Customs and Border Protection with some signs that read "Not This Time" and "No Ban."

Ted Eytan | BY-SA 4.0

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Civics Lessons

GRADE LEVEL: High School

What are Anti-immigrant Bias (Xenophobia), Nativism and Nationalism?

What are Historical and Current Immigration Policies?

How Do Anti-immigrant Sentiments Impact Immigration Policy?


Immigration is a recurring topic in the current events cycle, and has been throughout this nation’s history. While immigration has been a central feature of America’s growth, it has also been a divisive topic, with differing views of how to approach immigration policy. Both supporters and opponents of more open immigration policies point to various aspects of our history to back up their respective cases. Today, many discussions about immigration surface anti-immigrant bias,* nativism and nationalism; all terms that describe prejudice against those who were not born in this country. Anti-immigrant sentiment and expressions of anti-immigrant bias have had a significant impact on immigration policy and the daily lives of those whose lives are touched in some way by immigration.

About the Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students will learn about historical and current immigration policies and how anti-immigrant bias, nativism and nationalism have impacted these policies in the United States.




  • Define anti-immigrant bias (xenophobia), nativism and nationalism.
  • Discuss the evolution of anti-immigrant policies in U.S. history.
  • Connect previous immigration policies to current immigration policies.