SEIU Citizenship, Race, and Immigration – Trainers Guide
Publication date – January 2004
Developed by – the eight caucuses of SEIU’s Western Region and the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO), with input from the National Network for Immigrant Rights in collaboration with the Immigrant Community Organizers group of the National Organizers Alliance

Aims, objectives, and intended audience

This curriculum seeks to foster open dialogue across diverse communities in order to promote understanding and unity. The training frames immigrant rights within the broader context of civil and human rights, drawing parallels to the struggle for racial and economic justice. Originally written with the 2004 election in mind, civic participation themes permeate the curriculum, with an entire portion dedicated to political mobilization. The concept of citizenship recurs through the curriculum as it teaches how citizenship and immigration policies in the U.S. negatively impact working people, people of color, the poor, and other groups. Although written with a union audience in mind, the curriculum is broadly applicable to diverse groups (ideally of 30-60 people) who are seeking an opportunity for honest dialogue.

Broad structure and key educational methods

This curriculum contains 6.5 total hours of material. The training overview located at the beginning of the curriculum provides six possible options for conducting this training by offering alternatives to a day-long format. Various options are included for creating a multi-day format of various lengths to simply shortening the curriculum for an abridged day-long training. The materials provide guidance on what portion(s) of the curriculum should be abbreviated or omitted to fit a group’s time constraints.

Learning devices employed by the curriculum include a Citizenship, Race, and Immigration timeline, small and large group discussions, and several short videos. Some of the materials included in this curriculum are bilingual (English/Spanish).

Key topics or themes by module

1. Welcome, Introductions, Goals, Group Norms, Logistics

This opening section orients participants to the aims of the curriculum and allows the group to establish some ground rules to create a space that is conducive for learning and discussion.

2. Citizenship, Race & Immigration Timeline Exercise

With a historical timeline as its centerpiece, this module explores the ways in which U.S. immigration and citizenship policies have been used to oppress people based on race, national origin, class, gender, and other characteristics while promoting the interests of powerful groups. This conversation segues into a discussion citizenship rights and the role of social movements in expanding those rights.

3. Immigration & The Economy

Following a viewing of the film Uprooted: Refugees of the Global Economy, this portion of the curriculum assists participants in examining the policies and corporate practices that drive both domestic and international migration and displacement. Discussions that follow examine how the movement of people have impacted workforce dynamics and fostered tensions in workplaces and communities between immigrants and long-term residents. Participants are asked to brainstorm sources of workplace tensions, the beneficiaries of these tensions, and concrete action steps that may be taken to promote unity rather than competition.

4. Civic Participation / Action Steps

This section ties together the concepts of racial justice, human rights, and the struggle for legalization. It encourages civic participation and help participants plot out concrete steps for action following the conclusion of this training program.

5. Evaluation & Closing

This brief section provides an opportunity to review the goals of the curriculum and allows participants to share feedback and suggestions in both written and oral forms.

Curriculum acquisition information

This curriculum is available from the United Association for Labor Education.