Jul 13, 2021 - Technology

Board game teaches complexities of immigration policy

Screenshot of a person speaking with the blueprint setup of a video game
Image: Games for Change

A board game called "Toma El Paso (Make a Move)" is helping college students understand some of the ground-level complexities of U.S. immigration policy.

Why it matters: The game is made to be played, first and foremost, by unaccompanied immigrant minors to help them learn how to navigate the U.S detention system.

Between the lines: Designer Lien Tran, who made the game in 2014, said it is meant to explain the ways one can exit the system (reunification, foster care or return).

  • Among its lessons: the importance of following-up with caseworkers and "exerting patience."

What they're saying: At a talk at the Games for Change conference on Monday, Saint Louis University professor Kate Moran said "Toma El Paso" was eye-opening for her students. (Watch the full talk on YouTube.)

  • "They expressed frustration that even if they did what they were supposed to do, there was no guarantee of a good outcome — at least not quickly."
  • They appreciated its specificity: "The game allows us to talk about something that often gets buried in conversations about high-level law and policy: the way the detention system looks and acts on the ground."
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