Tech, Now + Beyond

These digital resources are protecting and empowering undocumented immigrants

Tech today is giving undocumented folks the power to live unafraid.

Undocumented immigrants in the United States are facing an uncertain future amid Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has already arrested more than 41,300 undocumented immigrants in the 100 days after Trump signed executive orders to crack down on immigration enforcement.

While the fear of deportation among these communities are more salient than ever, resources made to protect and empower undocumented folks have recently flourished in the tech world.

Undocumented immigrants are facing an uncertain future amid Trump's harsh immigration policies. Click To Tweet

From text message alert services and real-time maps, to social media and mobile apps, these digital resources are helping undocumented immigrants stay vigilant of ICE raids and police checkpoints, while also empowering them to live unafraid in Trump’s America.

Real-time alerts

Verifying individual reports of ICE raids can be tough to do without the proper resources, but MigraMap seeks to clear up confusion by mapping accurate and verifiable raid reports. Launched by Latino Rebels, users can anonymously report ICE immigration raids through an online form. The data is then populated onto a map so users can get a better idea of where raids are happening.

The initiative captures the official and unofficial national story of ICE raids, said Latino Rebels CEO Marlena Fitzpatrick. The platform ultimately gives everyone the opportunity to fight for undocumented people in their own communities.

#MigraMap aims to give everyone the opportunity to fight for undocumented people. Click To Tweet

In a similar mission, PaseLaVoz sends you immediate text message alerts in your area of police activity or possible checkpoints. This crowdsourcing platform gathers text reports from users and redistributes them to those who subscribe to messages within their zip codes. Users don’t need to download any mobile or desktop app to use this system—all you need is a mobile device.

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Since police work in public locations, information on their whereabouts is also public, so using this network is completely legal in the U.S. Messages are also available in both Spanish and English, and registration only takes five seconds.

Mobile apps

Notifica

In recent years, movers and shakers in tech have created easy-to-use mobile apps to help protect and support the immigrant and undocumented immigrant communities.

For those living without documentation, adjusting to a new country is made difficult by language barriers, lack of knowledge of one’s rights, and the fear of retribution. Arrived is an important resource for undocumented people because it is the first app of its kind to act as a convenient one-stop hub for all topics immigration.

Arrived was created to empower immigrants by providing resources on finding housing, jobs and information on the deportation process. The app also educates users on their constitutional rights and provides a map of law clinics, sanctuary cities, and a list of legislative updates on immigration policy that may affect them.

Arrived is a one-stop hub for all topics immigration. Click To Tweet

Notifica is also an indispensable mobile resource for those without documentation. The app sends out preloaded secure messages to a designated network of family, friends and legal assistance when users are detained or caught up in ICE raids. With the touch of one button, the encrypted message will be sent to every person in the user’s network (a user get up to 15 personal contacts) and will be erased once opened, similar to how Snapchat works.

With Notifica, users can be sure that their loved ones know their whereabouts so proper arrangements can be made and aid can come their way.

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Social media

Pixabay

While social media platforms have often been used against the undocumented community, these platforms can also be significant sources of support and empowerment, and many undocumented folks aren’t letting anti-immigrant rhetoric run them off these spaces.

Although often portrayed in the media as invisible and technologically unsavvy, undocumented people have used social media most actively and strategically for immigration reform.

Social media hashtags have literally started social movements. Many in the undocumented community, particularly those who are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, are using hashtags like #WithDACA (along with the Spanish hashtag #ConDACAlogre) to tell their stories and let people know they’re not going anywhere.

Undocumented people have used social media most actively strategically for immigration reform. Click To Tweet

Digital spaces not only have the power to protect and support a community, but for many undocumented folks, it also gives them the power to live unafraid.

Alicia Soller

Alicia Soller

Alicia Soller is a first generation-born Filipinx American digital storyteller committed to uplifting the narratives of communities of color. She is a graduate of the University of Florida, where she received her B.S. in Journalism and began her involvement with community organizing. She currently does freelance writing, marketing and design work with non-profit organizations.

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