Earning United States citizenship is no easy task.

That's what the 22 people who played an immigration board game at First United Methodist Church on Sunday evening discovered.

"To be honest, I don't know much about immigration," Stephanie Honeyman said. "Before, I never really thought about it. I had no idea about the waiting period."

Waiting periods were one of several obstacles game players faced as they tried to earn citizenship and win the game. Others included racism and language barriers. The game, which plays like the classic board game Life, was part of a Let's Talk About Immigration forum.

It was the fifth in a series of six forums called Economic, Political and Social Perspectives of Immigration in a Globalized World.

The Corvallis Coalition for Immigration Reform, which formed this year, has about 20 members and is using the forums to raise awareness about immigration issues.

LoErna Simpson, a member of the Corvallis coalition said she picked the game, which was created by Seattle-based Northwest Federation of Community Organizations, because she was looking for something that could help tie the previous forums together.

"A lot of the people here tonight have attended the other forums," Simpson said. "So this is a good way for them to use what they have learned so far."

Corvallis City Councilor Mike Beilstein said the game does a good job of educating people about the difficulties of immigration. He said he attended the forums because of social justice and wage issues related to immigration.

Honeyman, who was one of about a dozen OSU students at Sunday's forum, said she started attending the forums so she could receive extra credit for a Spanish class at OSU. However, as she's learned more about immigration, she said she's becoming more involved.

"Learning about bilingual issues has been really interesting to me," said Honeyman, a speech communications undergrad. "People shouldn't have to give up their languages. I've definitely become more passionate about the issues."

Players drew player story cards based on real immigrants' experiences and either started on the "path to citizenship" or the "undocumented limbo" loop depending on what their player card specified.

Players rolled a die to move along or fall out of their loop depending on the instructions on the game board. If they landed on certain spots, they had to follow instruction cards that dealt with issues such as obtaining a driver's license. The objective of the game is to be the first to make it to the citizenship circle in the center of the board.

While the game isn't an accurate representation of the immigration process and its obstacles, players came away with a better understanding of the challenges immigrants face.

"It definitely helps," said Frank Chown, a history major at OSU. "It helps me appreciate my citizenship more."

The final forum of the series will be from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. The free event will feature members of the Oregon Coalition for Immigration Reform.

The forums are sponsored by the Corvallis Coalition for Immigration Reform, the Oregon Coalition for Immigration Reform, the Active for Peace & Justice of First United Methodist and the Just Peace of United Church of Christ.

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