Cabrini High School (CHS) participated in the “Unaccompanied Minors: Refugees Seeking Safety” simulation developed by Cabrini College Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Ambassadors to increase understanding and awareness of the plight of unaccompanied minors fleeing South and Central American countries.
CHS Juniors participated in the simulation to increase their understanding of the plight of unaccompanied minors fleeing Central and South American countries. The program was created and implemented by Cabrini College CRS Student Ambassadors who visited from Radnor, PA. As part of the Cabrini College CRS goals and a course on the Common Good, the college students designed a simulation focusing on the specific immigration issue of the many unassisted children seeking refuge and safety in the U.S.
Cabrini College was the first college campus to establish a partnership with CRS, and Cabrini High School, a select Platinum Level Global CRS High School, is the first group of high school students chosen to participate in the program. The simulation began during the welcoming dinner, as the two CRS programs empowered one another to work together on a common Cabrinian goal: increasing awareness of the need for immigration reform.
Cabrini College’s Communications Professor Dr. Jerry Zurek and Dr. Ray Ward, Associate Director of Peace and Justice, initiated the simulation by remembering Mother Cabrini, the Patron Saint of Immigrants, and her work with immigrants, orphans and the marginalized during the time she spent in the United States. Mother Cabrini’s ministry in New Orleans was spent primarily serving the needs of many Italian immigrant children at the orphanage on St. Philip Street. The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart continue to advocate for immigration reform as one of their two corporate stances.
The simulation included a complex map of the various routes to citizenship, and scenarios tracing the process leading to legalized citizenship to determine typical lengths of processing time, qualifications, costs, and the chance of deportation. Each student was assigned a simulated journey assuming the “role” of unaccompanied minor, and traveled through the stages of gang harassment, the court system, and detention center. Throughout the simulation, the college students explained the hazards of that stage of the journey, with the whole group sharing their reactions along the way.
Advocacy was addressed during the final stage of the simulation, suggesting strategies the students could use to influence legislation, such as write to senators, representatives, and the president.
Cabrini College provided pre-printed letters requesting government leaders to:
- Stop deportation of minors back to dangerous home countries.
- Provide lawyers and translators for minors when they are in legal proceedings.
- Fund vocational training for teens in Central America.
Many students chose to formally participate, including handwritten notes with their pre-printed letters.