Case Study:

Asylum Crisis at the US-Mexico Border

The number of people apprehended crossing the border from Mexico to the United States was higher in May 2019 than any other time since 2006. In previous years, most migrants who entered the United States from Mexico were single men, but during the summer of 2019, more than half of the migrants apprehended crossing the border were families and unaccompanied children. Most of these migrants fled violence in Central American countries and are asking for asylum in the United States. Thousands more asylum seekers are waiting in Mexico to cross into the United States at official border crossings.  - Source: Facing History and Ourselves

  • Why are so many Central Americans seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border?

  • How does the asylum process in the work?

  • How has the Trump administration responded to the crisis at the border?

These are the questions we will explore through some readings, videos, discussions and a role play. 

  • Reading: "Central America's Turbulent Northern Triangle" by CFR

  • Reading: "A Guide to Some Major Trump Administration Immigration Policies" by PBS

  • Investigation: How does the asylum process work in the US?

  • Investigation: The Asylum Application Process in the US

  • Role Play: Debating Trump Administration's Asylum Policies



  • What do you know about what is happening at the US-Mexico border?

  • What questions do you have about the situation? 

  • What is the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker? (If you forget, click here.)

How does the asylum process work?

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The Asylum Application Process in the US


on the Trump Administration's Asylum Policies