I haven’t yet played the video game, “ICED: I Can End Deportation,” launched yesterday, but I’ve read enough about it that I can tell it’s not promoting the official line from U.S. immigration authorities. It seems to me like a game that would motivate a lot of American teenagers to learn more about immigration, but it has the kind of content that some school officials might be skittish about. The game is produced by Breakthrough, an international human rights organization that has offices in both New York City and New Delhi, India.
In the game, players take on the role of one of five different immigrant teens—and see what they encounter in navigating the immigration system.
Here’s a description from the game itself: “The object of the game is to become a citizen of the United States. Game Play: As an immigrant teen you are avoiding [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officers, choosing right from wrong and answering questions on immigration. But if you answer questions incorrectly, or make poor decisions, you will be detained with no respect for your human rights.”
Paula Gottlob, a communications consultant for Breakthrough, told me over the telephone today that I’m correct to conclude that Breakthrough intends the game to be an advocacy tool for immigrants. But she says, “It doesn’t take a position except for the position of due process.”
Last summer, a preview of the game was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
The game, which I learned about on ImmigrationProf Blog, is accompanied with a curriculum, which Breakthrough says is aligned with New York State and New York City social studies and English-language-arts standards.
Educators: Could any of you use such an advocacy tool with your students in public schools, without encountering resistance from administrators? Should you be able to use such a game in your schools?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.