The Immigration Simulation: Mount students get insight into immigration process

February 28, 2018

Mount students have their “passports” evaluated at the college’s recent Immigration Simulation.

Mount students have their “passports” evaluated at the college’s recent Immigration Simulation.


Almost 50 students at Mount Saint Mary College immersed themselves in the United States’ immigration process on Monday, February 26 through a hands-on “Immigration Simulation.” 

At the event, hosted by the college’s chapter of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Student Ambassadors, students assumed the identity of an immigrant based on “passports” they received on arrival, indicating various demographic characteristics about the immigrant they were portraying.

CRS Student Ambassadors played the role of immigration officials and staffed stations representing the journey immigrants take to become U.S. citizens. At each stop, the participants were asked about the education level, marital status, medical history, or employment history of their alter ego. Their answers would determine what station they visited next, or if they were sent to the back of the long line at the initial station to be reevaluated. Students often had to go back and forth between several of the same offices in order to have issues resolved.

Once they became validated citizens, the students met in small groups with Sr. Virginia Wilkinson, PBVM, who asked them to examine the criteria for citizenship as well as how the process impacted them emotionally. 

Christina Mistretta of Brooklyn, N.Y., president of the CRS Student Ambassadors on campus, said the event showed participants how difficult the immigration process can be for some. The experience, she hoped, would help the students to gain a broader understanding of not only the official citizenship process, but also how to look at it from a humanistic point of view. 

In addition to this project, the CRS Student Ambassadors make a difference in the local community throughout the semester by volunteering at St. Mary’s Church in Newburgh and organizing campus Midnight Runs to donate food and clothing to the needy in New York City.