Sunday, March 16, 2008

On immigration, a couple of out-of-the-box advocacy tools

As a long-time immigration rights advocate, some of the most indelible memories I have are the couple of times I visited immigration detention centers in New Jersey along with Will Coley. I have been to many an asylum court hearing acting as as translator but it was shocking to realize that local detention centers are run by independent contractors (much like Blackwater USA is contracted to do the dirty stuff in Iraq and Afghanistan) and that some people are held indefinitely and are rarely provided access to legal representation, translation services, or hearings.

I also have been at many a political asylum hearing (also as a translator), so when Will sent me a link to the YouTube video above, I certainly recognized some of the asylum court procedures that the video parodies (Will wrote the clip's script which was taped as a response to a YouTube contest launched by the Movement Vision Lab).

On the same vein, I also received info about a BreakthroughTV video game called "ICED - I Can End Deportation" in which "you can step inside the shoes of one out of five immigrant teens, each of a different ethnicity and immigration status," according to press materials.

Not sure how I feel about the immigration issue becoming an internet video game, even if it's for the right reasons (plus I am always weary about organizations reaching out to 'the kids' by using new technology), but you might as well give it a try and tell me how it goes! Haven't played the game yet so I am not sure if the game programmers did a good job or not. In any case you will be able to test it before I do and give us feedback.

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