Lesson Plans

Irregular Migrants in Britain

Campsfield house in Oxfordshire is one of the 11 detention centers in the UK. About 30,000 people are detained in them every year. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

Protestors gather outside the detention center, which is run by Mitie, a private corporation. They object to what they consider exploitative practices by Mitie and the fact that migrants can be detained without judicial oversight. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

Before the rally, Migrants Organise, an organization that helps immigrants in all kinds of circumstances in London, had a picnic with food, music and dancing—sharing a message of welcome for all migrants in Olympic Park. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

Members of Migrants Organise, a London-based advocacy organization for immigrants, chant before a community meeting with the London Mayoral candidates on April 28. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

The entertainment included music from all over the world, including singing in Arabic and dances from Zimbabwe. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

Migrants Organise also constructed a Tree of Hope, to which anyone could add a message or a wish for new refugees. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

The UK has committed to taking 20,000 Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East over five years alongside their asylum process. The government met its goal to resettle 1,000 Syrians before Christmas 2015, but only 43 were resettled in London. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

A woman from a local Methodist community adds her message to the Tree of Hope. The rally included leaders from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

Before walking over to the rally at the Copper Box Arena the picnic attenders posed for a photo, spelling out “Refugees Welcome,” the name of the national campaign endorsed by Citizens London. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

On the walk over to the Arena, Migrants Organise sang new words to the old hymn, "When the Saints Go Marching In": “We will dance for refugees, we will dance for refugees. Freedom is a right, not a privilege. We will dance for refugees.” Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

Migrants Organise take their seats in the arena. Citizens London asked both candidates to commit to appointing a Deputy Mayor for Citizenship and Integration and resettling 10 refugee families per borough per year for five years. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

A parade of all the organizations in attendance around the Copper Box. Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.

Khan addresses the assembled citizens. When asked about refugee resettlement, Khan told the crowd, “An asylum seeker is someone fleeing persecution, looking for a safe haven, looking for safety. And for us to walk on the other side, for us not to be the keeper of our brother or sister, the fifth richest city in the world, is a badge of shame.” Image by Abe Kenmore. United Kingdom, 2016.


Students will be able to identify and articulate central ideas from three resources from the project "Britain's Irregular Migrants" in order to to provide an objective summary of the project. 


On a separate sheet of paper, write your responses to the following questions. Be prepared to share your responses. 

  1. What words, phrases or images do you think of when you read the term "illegal alien?"
  2. What words, phrases or images do you think of when you read the term "irregular migrant?" What do you think the term means?
  3.  What might be some of the impacts of rapid migration to your country?
  4. How might your community respond if there was suddenly rapid immigration to your city?

Introducing the Lesson:

In this lesson you will analyze a Pulitzer Center reporting project exploring diverse responses to irregular migrants in Britain. The project also highlights what life is like for the more than 400,000 migrants in Britain without legal status at a time when harsher immigration bills being considered, more migrants seeking entrance to Britain and British citizens continuing to debate whether or not their country should remain part of the European Union.

For more information about Britain, and how it is different from Great Britain and the United Kingdom, click here.

For more information on the debate surrounding whether or not Britain will remain part of the European Union, click here.

Introducing the Resources:

Review the resources attached and answer the accompanying questions. After reviewing all three resources, write your responses to the following questions:

  1. What do you think is the main point the author is trying to convey in this project?
  2. Why do you think the author included these three stories as part of his project?
  3. Choose one resource: How did this resource progress the main point of the project?

Extension Activity:

1. Using details from all three resources, write an objective summary of the project.

2. Read the project description attached from journalist Abe Kenmore. Consider the following:

  • How does your project description compare to the description written by Kenmore? 
  • After reviewing Kenmore's description, what other stories do you think could be part of this project? Write a plan for at least two stories that you would investigate to include as part of Kenmore's project, "Britain's Irregular Migrants."
Educator Notes: 

In the following lesson plan, which is in line with common core standards, students will investigate educational resources in order to learn about irregular migrant detention centers.


Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

Lesson Facilitation Notes:

1. The lesson plan is written for students to be able to explore the resources independently and reflection exercises independently.

2. Students may need to have an extra sheet of paper, or a blank online document open, to answer the warm up, comprehension and extension questions.

3. The lesson lists an extension exercise.

4. The warm up and post-reading reflections in this lesson could also lead to rich conversations. You many want to working through the lesson along with the students and denote moments for interactive activities.

5. With questions about this lesson, contact education@pulitzercenter.org

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