Adapting to American culture and lifestyle can be challenging, so we’ve put together activities that can help ease this process for future generations of Latino immigrant youth. Amiguía Americana (immigrationgames.com) provides those willing to help these youth with a hub of interactive, fun, and easy-to-use resources designed and selected for immigrant youth.
While these resources are designed to be used by immigrant youth, they are also designed to used with the help of someone from their support team: a teacher, community leader, friend, or family. Please check out the resources and share them with the special youth in your life.
Toma el Paso
The flagship project is Toma el Paso (Make a Move), a board game that teaches unaccompanied immigrant minors (UIMs) about the release from detention process. The game introduces players to the 3 pathways for release from a juvenile shelter as well as events and actions that could speed up or slow down your approval for release. Toma el Paso was consistently used from 2014-2018 with UIMs as part of the Immigrant Children’s Affirmative Network (ICAN) curriculum, which is managed by the University of Miami’s Community & Educational Well-Being Research Center (CEW) at the School of Education & Human Development. 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).
Note: The full game set is available with components in both Spanish and English. If you only want the game set in Spanish or English only, please look for this particular link on the game’s webpage.
Educational Uses for Toma el Paso
The primary use case for Toma el Paso is with unaccompanied immigrant minors (UIM) currently in custody of the U.S. government in a youth immigration shelter. The game should be presented to UIM by a person trained in how to facilitate the game. A secondary, emergent use for the game has been in higher education classrooms to learn about the unique plight of UIM as a way to discuss immigration in U.S.
Amiguía Americana is primarily addressing the needs and interests of immigrant youth. We have also found that our resources are helpful for non-immigrant youth to play and learn about the immigrant experience in the United States.
As such, we have constructed a list of resource to consider using, based on experiencing in our college-level classrooms. Watch the video and click the link below for more details.
This 2021 Games for Change project brief on “The Role of Play in Multimodal Learning on U.S. Immigration” highlights unique multimodal learning about immigration in America. Toma el Paso is a tabletop game designed for unaccompanied immigrant minors (UIMs) to help navigate the shelter release process when in U.S. government custody. We will share strategies for using Toma in college-level immigration courses, combining student analysis of gameplay with assigned texts and media to enable richer reflection on immigration.
ICAN Book of Life
ICAN stands for the Immigrant Children’s Affirmative Network. This program was developed through a collaboration of university and community partnerships with the purpose of fostering a sense of resiliency in the UIM population. This 2-day weekend program occurred once a month at a shelter in Miami, Florida, that houses UIMs before they face one of three outcomes: voluntary deportation, reunification with family, or placement in federal foster care.
ICAN allowed for facilitated discussion and learning in the youth that allows them to process their immigration journey while simultaneously teaching them about their rights in the U.S. ICAN has also partnered with multiple community organizations such as EnFamilia and Americans for Immigrant Justice in order to create a university-community partnership that advocates for this marginalized population.
The ICAN program was created by a team of clinical researchers at the University of Miami working with detained unaccompanied undocumented minors in South Florida. The Book of Life is a curricular activity booklet designed to allow immigrant youth to share their story about where they came from and how they arrived in the U.S., to learn about their current situation living at a government juvenile shelter, and to consider their aspirations for the future.
ICAN and Toma el Paso were featured in a 2015 American Psychological Association article “Helping immigrant children heal” by Lorna Collier.
The New Challenge
Immigration Games (under the name Amigo Legal Games) won the inaugural grand prize for The New School’s The New Challenge in 2012. Lien Tran graduated from Parsons School of Design at The New School in May 2012 after which she was able to use the grant funds to finalize the game component designs, print high quality game sets, distribute them to juvenile shelters, and train game facilitators.