Critics have (understandably) slammed an upcoming iOS-based game that puts players in the driver’s seat of a truck smuggling illegal immigrants across the US border.
“This ‘game’ (Smuggle Truck) pokes fun and trivializes the harsh reality of our current immigration policy that leads to people putting their lives at stake and embarking on dangerous border crossings,” Thanu Yakupitiyage of the New York Immigration Coalition told the NY Daily News.
Yakupitiyage also noted that over 170 people died attempting to cross the harsh border terrain in 2010.
Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrants & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, expressed similar sentiments to NBC Los Angeles.
“It’s disgraceful that anyone would try to make money out of this tragedy by making light of it in a game.”
However, Owlchemy co-founder Alex Schwartz claimed that his dev team was simply attempting to make people aware of the absurdities plaguing the current US immigration system.
“We feel like there should be room for expression in this medium that can talk about this – but because we’re approaching it with satire it’s hard to do.”
Schwartz also confirmed that Owlchemy was “open” to changing additional aspects of the game, after immigrants in the smuggling truck were altered so they didn’t seem specifically Mexican.
Still, Patricia Montes, executive director of a Massachusetts-based Latino immigrant advocacy group, believes the game is definitely in poor taste.
“I don’t think people who are trying to emigrate to the U.S. think they are part of a game… Clearly, they do it because they are desperate.”