Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

“Judging Extreme Hardship”: An in-class activity for teaching critical interrogation of discursive frames in U.S. im/migration law

  • Author(s): Cook, Jennifer
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license

A key element in teaching the anthropology of im/migration is fostering critical analysis of the discursive frames used in conversations about im/migrants. In this article I describe an in-class activity I use to foster critical thinking about discursive frames on im/migration—specifically those which are embedded into U.S. immigration law. Students are asked to play the role of an immigration judge deciding on a de-identified version of an actual “hardship waiver” case—a petition for relief from deportation. By putting themselves in the shoes of an immigration judge, students must work to disconnect from their own biases and assumptions in order to attempt to apply immigration law. In the process, students learn about the inner workings of the immigration system and interrogate how discursive frames shape the application of immigration law.

Main Content
Current View