American Bald Eagle What does it mean to be an American?

Does “equal protection under the law” relate to everyone in America? What is truly equal? In this task, you'll contribute a message from a student's perspective for or against this issue for the local news media.


A national citizens group, People for Equality, with members in Martinsville is lobbying to change the 14th Amendment to deny automatic citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Currently, under the 14th Amendment, all children born in the U.S. are considered U.S. citizens regardless of the citizenship status of their parents. What do you think?

People for Equality would like to hold a meeting in Martinsville and local citizens are up in arms. Local citizens on both sides of the issue are writing letters to the editor of “The Bulletin,” debating the issue on the local radio, and other venues. The local news station is planning a story and wants a story from a student at Martinsville Middle.

Your Goal:

You get the chance to represent students at Martinsville Middle School on this issue by creating a story for the local news media. You can write a letter to the editor, write an article for the newspaper, record your statement (podcast or radio), or create a commercial. But you only have 30 minutes to review the information provided and complete your product. Choose a product you know you can complete in the amount of time given.

Document Library: Everything you need to complete the task is included on this page. Be sure to review the information below and include the most important information in your product, not just your opinion. You should use evidence from the following documents appropriately. (Please note: these documents will open in a new window.)

  1. Document A: Several states want court ruling on birthright citizenship. Article by Shankar Vedantam for the Washington Post
  1. Document B: The Reconstruction Amendments: The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. Video and article from Education Portal
  2. Document C: Amid immigration debate, questions arise over 14th Amendment's meaning. Article by Dan Nowicki for The Arizona Republic.
  3. Document D: Should immigrants in the United States illegally have Constitutional rights and preotections when on American soil? Pro and con statemetns from professors, political scientists, and others on


Document E (video)
Document F (video)
Video montage (below) of clips including an interview with Monica Novoa from "Drop the I Word" campaign. News footage of anit-immigration protestors blocking transport of undocumented women and children

Download the Scoring Rubric

Photo Credits (All images licensed under a Creactive Commons License):