Setting the Stage
The United States is considered to be a country that has, historically, welcomed refugees. Between 1975 and 2007, the U.S. took in approximately 2.5 million refugees.* Compare that number to the more than one million migrants and refugees who sought entry into Europe in 2015 alone.
Ask students if they know the difference between a refugee and a migrant. Explain that a migrant is an individual who chooses to leave his or her home country for any number of reasons, such as for a job or other opportunities. A refugee is someone who is fleeing armed conflict—like the civil war in Syria—or persecution, such as the Jewish people who fled Germany during the Holocaust.
Ask students if they have heard about the migrant/refugee crisis. If so, what stories have they come across in the media? Explain that refugees usually travel light and take one bag with them as they flee their homes. Ask students: if you had to pack one bag with 5 items, what would you bring? Why?