Sunday, November 4, 2007
To add some drama to our immigration focus, everyone was given passports or identifications for Up with People Land. The goal was for each person to find a job and a place to live in this fictional country, and to experience the challenges that may come from being a migrant worker, legal alien, refugee or asylum seeker. Some people were employers with jobs to hire for, and some owned houses or apartment buildings with rooms to rent. They could determine what their businesses were, and what their hiring procedure would be. It was fun to see how creative people got with the tasks… we had an investigative newspaper that was reporting on the possible corruption within the border patrol, the mayor’s new laws and new wife were also critiqued in the publication, and we had one girl who believed she was fired from her job unfairly organizing a protest for workers rights. There was some tension created though when passports started being stolen in UWP Land. Both the newspaper owner and the protest organizer became illegal immigrants after their passports were stolen… which turned out to be masterminded by the uwpland mafia. It was a fun simulation that has been present in the uwp curriculum for the past few semesters. I was proud of the extra details that I added to enhance the experience this time, like holding a mayoral election, having justices of the peace who married couples, adding a refugee center director who interviewed asylum seekers to determine if they could be approved for refugee status, writing job descriptions for the border patrol and all the special positions, and creating a loose structure for proposing laws/ policies that would encourage the creativity of the participants. I learned a lot about what worked and what I would change, and for next semester will think a little more about what I want people to get out of the experience, beyond a fun roleplay.