essay on immigration court

Essay 1: Exposition

2-3 pages

10% graded + 5% draft

Sept 10 intro and thesis workshopping with one supporting paragraph

Sept 12 Entire essay with conclusion and at least three body paragraphs

Sept 17-20 grading conferences

Assignment Objectives

Students’ essays should 1) have a thesis statement that directly makes a claim about what the “text” they are analyzing communicates and why, 2) use specific, detailed examples from the text to support that claim and the reasons why, and 3) summarize, paraphrase, and quote from the text adequately to complete the task. Remember, a “text” is not just an essay. It refers to meaning we can “read” in a critical sense. For example, we all know we can read advertisement that don’t have words. We can read an emotional moment in a film where there is no dialogue.


This essay will ask you to choose a single text from a provided list and write an exposition of it. Exposition is the act of explaining what a text says and how it says it, and how it attempts to persuade or influence its readers, viewers, or participants. Practicing this kind of assignment can help you understand how texts of all varieties attempt to persuade you, from scholarly articles to advertisements to posts on social media to film and podcasts.


Write an essay that presents your explanation of how the “text” you have chosen works to influence its readers. Make sure to focus more on how the essay works than on summarizing what it says. You may choose any one of the following excerpts. Remember, they are all related to the topic of immigration which is the general topic of the course. These are links to segments from “Last Week Tonight” with comedian John Oliver. They incorporate humor in an obvious way, but also present factual evidence that usually isn’t explored which provides the audience with new insights. So, you will choose one of the three below.

Family Separation:

Border Patrol:

Immigration Courts:

Suggestion for Process

Watch the segment all the way through without taking any notes. After, right down what you remember. Now, watch it again and take notes about how the writers are using humor and examples and information to appear to the audience. After that, based on your notes, freewrite what you think the purpose was. Was there a larger statement being made? If possible, pretend you are the writer/director and write a thesis statement for the documentary.

Rhetorical Situation

Who is the Audience and What is the purpose and what tools of ETHOS (credibility) PATHOS (appeals to emotion and humor) and LOGOS (structure and facts) are being used?

We have discussed the rhetorical situation, and the importance of context in class. For review, visit the OWL site here:

Remember, it is about the choices you make based on your audience and purpose and the context of the topic.

Do I need a works cited page?

Because you will be quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing from a source, you will need to parenthetically cite it when you use it in your essay and include an MLA works cited page with an entry for source. Please ask if you have questions regarding citation, and remember that all essays will go through the Turnitin Originality Check in the D2L Dropbox.

Need Help?

Payne Hall 146 8:30-9:30 TTH and MW 8:30-11:30

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