Migrant-smuggling game rejected
An iPhone game that allows users to drive a truck full of immigrants through what appears to be the US-Mexican border has been rejected by Apple Inc., the software’s developer said yesterday.
Owlchemy Labs, the Boston company that developed Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration, said the Apple App Store turned down the game three weeks ago. It accepted the company’s Snuggle Truck app, a game that allows players to “bring cute animals from the wilderness to the comfort of a zoo.’’
Owlchemy Labs developer Alex Schwartz said the immigration game’s rejection was “content-related,’’ but he could not give details, because of a contractual agreement.
Owlchemy drew fire from advocates for immigrants after it announced the game’s creation in February. The game was criticized as being in poor taste because it trivialized how immigrants risked their lives under what advocates call a broken immigration system.
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, director of communications at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles, expressed mixed feelings about Apple’s decision.
“I can’t say that I’m displeased,’’ he said, adding that Smuggle Truck trivialized the sufferings of the thousands who seek to cross the US border every year. “I think it’s distasteful. I think it’s offensive.’’
But he expressed surprise that Apple had barred the game from its mobile devices. “I’m surprised, because I think as much as we dislike the content of the app, I believe that consumers should be given the choice to download it or not,’’ Cabrera said.