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Student Projects

Writing the Law

Author: Andres Perez

Grade: 10th

Subject: Humanities

How should immigrants and refugees be welcomed when they enter a new country? How do we create laws that reflect an inclusive society?

In this project, students learned about how policies at the local level can make a city a more or less welcoming place for immigrants and refugees. They researched the journeys and challenges that face immigrants and refugees as they enter a new country. Students studied the difference between local, state, and federal government, and their scope of power. They also studied recommendations for better policies that originated from the Welcoming SD Report. They read and listened to immigrants and refugees and spoke to stakeholders in the community. Students also studied the history of borders and immigration in order to fully understand the past, present, and future of immigration in their community and country. Finally, students wrote professional policy memos and speeches which they presented to one of four governing bodies: the San Diego City Council, the Chula Vista City Council, the High Tech High School Board, or the Sweetwater Unified School Board. By forming an opinion on human rights, and acting upon that opinion students lived out the democratic ideals of our country while improving the overall condition of our community. 

  • Outline the problem based on research from the Welcoming Cities Initiative and community interviews
  • Develop specific policy recommendations that improve the lives the immigrants and refugees in San Diego County
  • Write a persuasive speech that ties in personal narrative, historical context, and policy recommendation
  • Deliver speech and policy memo to a large, authentic, and formal audience.

During this project, students were all a paired with a mentor from the community. These advocates work to improve their community every day by focusing on issues such as immigration, criminal justice, and more. Advocates met with their mentee students twice over the course of the project to critique policy memos and speeches.Thank you to the following mentors for volunteering your time!

  • Itzel Guillen, Alliance SD

  • Erin Tsurumoto Grassi, Alliance SD

  • Councilman Mike Diaz, City of Chula Vista

  • Pedro Rios, American Friends Service Committee

  • Paola Martinez-Montes, ACCE Action

  • Margaret Baker, South Bay People Power

  • Nancy Sandweiss, South Bay People Power

  • Jason Bercovitch, Congressman Scott Peters

  • Paola Guzman, Congressman Juan Vargas

  • Jessica Mier, Congresswoman Susan Davis

  • Maya Srikrishnan, Voice of San Diego

  • Kylee Hoynack, Institute for Public Strategies

  • Stelle Andrade, Institute for Public Strategies

  • Meredith Gibson, Institute for Public Strategies

  • Gerrlyn Gacao, ACLU

  • Dalia Gonzalez, Chula Vista Human Relations Committee

  • Jim Scofield, South Bay People Power