Smartphone App Being Developed to Help Detained Undocumented Immigrants

A group of immigrant activists in Arizona is developing a smartphone application that will enable people arrested on immigration charges to inform their family and attorney of their whereabouts and detention.

The “Emergency Alert and Personal Protection” app will send arrest information to a pre-set list of supporters using GPS technology. With the touch of a button, friends and family will know what’s happened. Too often, undocumented immigrants can be detained for days or even weeks before relatives are able to find out where they are. The application also will have an option to record video and audio, and then send it to a safe storage place so legal counsel can access it later. The app will also provide information about basic civil rights in English and Spanish to help guide the detainee during police questioning.

Immigrant advocates say they’re using the technology to counter SB 1070, the Arizona law that has driven thousands of immigrants out of the state. Considering how difficult it is for undocumented immigrants to send any message of their whereabouts to friends or family, the smartphone app will help facilitate release and speed up the process to resolving the situation. Many times, undocumented immigrants wait days, even weeks before anyone knows what has happened or what can be done to take care of their detention.

Thanks to the development of the “Emergency Alert and Personal Protection”, undocumented immigrants now have a way to get word out so the situation can be taken care of quickly. Because Arizona and other states are passing laws that are cracking down on illegal immigration, this app is now more important than ever to help preserve the rights of immigrants in a system that does not favor them. We will be keeping an eye out for this smartphone app’s release so word may be passed along when it becomes available.