Of the 8,000+ children detained within the U.S. each year, many are eligible for legal relief but are not guaranteed legal counsel. Immigration law is one of the most complex legal codes in the U.S., and it’s unjust that a child should have to navigate this labyrinth by himself without legal guidance. Games can make complex legal information accessible to a child so he can make more informed decisions and ask questions specific to his case.
In Toma El Paso (Make a Move in English), a game that teaches youth about the release from detention process, the mechanics provide tacit lessons detained youth do not always learn and yet should apply in real life.
If you are interested in using the game, it is available for purchase at-cost directly from The Game Crafter, a print-on-demand game site with a discount on bulk orders (links below). If you are interested in using the game but have limited funds, please contact me at lien[at]lienbtran.com with your specific interest and needs so we can work something out.
- Full game (in Spanish):
- English expansion (includes the release mats and chance cards in English):
This game was originally created in partnership with Shalyn Fluharty, an immigration attorney in New York. The game is now being used as part of the Immigrant Children’s Affirmative Network (ICAN) curriculum at the University of Miami.
Thank you to the generous support of The New School’s New Challenge for making copies of Toma and other resources available to ICAN and other organizations working with unaccompanied immigrant youth. Thank you to Julie and Diego at Americans for Immigrant Justice for your help in confirming the final content and to Jessica Wendorf for translating the game into Spanish.
I am now working on setting up an initiative, Amiguía Americana, to source and create interactive resources designed for immigrant youth in the U.S. Stay tuned for more games and activities that anyone working with this population can use to help bridge the information gap they face adapting to life in a new country and to its culture. If you are interested in finding out more about Amiguía or partnering to share or design such resources, please contact me at lien[at]lienbtran.com.
- Collier, L. (2015, March). Helping immigrant children heal: Psychologists are working to help undocumented immigrant children recover from trauma and deal with the uncertainties of their lives. Monitor on Psychology, 46(3). Retrieved from http://www.apamonitor-digital.org/apamonitor/201503?folio=58#pg61
- Professor’s Board Game Helps Young Immigrants Plot Their Future, University of Miami eVeritas, August 2014
- Legal Tech Design, Fall 2014
- Immigration Game: Toma el Paso, Open Law Lab, October 2014
- Professor’s Board Game explains child immigration system, Miami Hurricane, October 2014
- Immigrant Children’s Affirmative Network (ICAN) launched a new curriculum in Spring 2014 that includes playing Toma El Paso with the undocumented unaccompanied immigrant minors at His House, a juvenile facility in Miami Gardens, FL.
- The New Challenge awarded its grand grant prize of $10,000 in support of assessment and distribution of Make a Move and the design of additional immigration games.
- Lien Tran presented Gaming the System at Games+Learning+Society 8.0 in June 2012 and received an attendees vote award for “Most Surprising Findings.”
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How to Play (English)
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Gaming the System was the culminating thesis project for Lien’s MFA in Design + Technology at Parsons. Here’s a short video putting the project into a greater context.
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