Student game called 'La Migra' sparks racial concerns in NorCal community

EMBED </>More Videos

A controversial game played by high school students in Benicia is getting renamed after school leaders notified parents. It's called La Migra, the Spanish word for immigration. (KGO-TV)

A controversial game played by high school students in Benicia is getting renamed amid concerns about racial undertones.

The chasing game is called "La Migra," the Spanish word for immigration - as in immigration agents.

Upperclassmen chase the younger students across town, catching anyone they can.

Some might call it "cops and robbers."

But here it's called "La Migra" and for some that implies ICE agents chasing undocumented people.

"To say it's La Migra going after undocumented people - that's pretty offensive," said Daniel Serna, a concerned parent.

Students who showed up to play Friday night weren't reading into the name.

"I want to do it because it's fun. I'm all for fun and thrill-seeking," said Elijah Alvarado, a Benicia High School student.

"I don't mind. Cause I'm Hispanic too. I don't really mind though," said Alvarado.

The district sent an email to parents warning of the unsanctioned game.

"My initial reaction was 'Yay they get to go and run and have some fun.' But then when I heard something about it being racist I wasn't too happy about that," said Tina Beatty, a parent who brought her student to participate.

Alvarado's mom doesn't mind either.

"I think it's awesome that the kids get together and do something fun outside rather than playing video games," said Kristie Alvarado.

Serna says it's not the game that's a problem. It's the name, which has political and racial undertones.

"How would the district react if they pretended they were Nazis going after Jews or KKK going after blacks? I think they would look at it a little different," said Serna.

So students rebranded the game that has been played for decades.

"It's called extreme fun run now, all right," shouted an organizer to a cheering crowd.

Benicia Police stepped up patrols looking for reckless drivers. Many of the students were dressed in all black running across town, while teenage drivers chased in cars. Officers say they have written citations.
Related Topics:
societyimmigrationhigh schoolICEdeportationgamesimmigration reformstudentsteenagersNorthern California
(Copyright ©2018 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)