Five years ago, I was undocumented. Today, I am an American citizen. But at any moment, my citizenship can be revoked and I will forever be under the power of ICE agents and border patrol officers.
When I heard that Trump plans to hire 15,000 border patrol and ICE agents within the next few years, a sense of vulnerability was heightened within me. I recall the number of times my parents drilled into me to hide under the bed as a child in case someone came knocking at our door while they were out. I know the weight of holding the secret of my immigration status around friends. I understand what it’s like to always be on guard, always ready to pack up and leave.
Many are stating that the execution of Trump’s plan will be difficult. Even so, I urge everyone to share information regarding the raids because it is vital we support and ensure the safety of our neighbors — both documented and undocumented.
Celso Mireles, a documented citizen who came to this country with his undocumented parents years ago, created a new open-source app that warns users about anti-immigration raids. The open-source app, RedadAlertas or Raid Alerts, delivers warnings via SMS to any kind of phone. Although there are three types of raids — home raids, work raids, and traffic checkpoints — this app only notifies users about work raids and traffic checkpoints. Raid notifications themselves will only be sent out when a critical mass and/or enough credible sources have verified the event. “This is because there is little value in sending info about a home raid nearby, and serves more to spread fear,” Mireles said.
It is important to note that the default settings for this app are set to Spanish. There is an option to change the settings to English, however. While the creator understands that there are several undocumented immigrants who speak other languages, he also recognizes that the majority of undocumented individuals speak Spanish. With that said, if you speak any other languages and would like to volunteer your time to help translate the alerts for free, check out this page.
Although this isn’t the first app to help immigrants face discrimination, it is critical that we share such information with one another. There are several other programs like Borderwise that even assist immigrants in their process of applying for green cards as well as reviewing immigration lawyers. While this online tool usually runs for $500, Jeremy Peskin, an entrepreneur from Canada, is offering it for only $1 along with a pro bono legal review.
This is because, unlike this current administration, we understand that immigration doesn’t lead to more crime. Everyone is welcome here. Our job, as an Ummah in this country, is to help protect everyone while they’re here and support them so they feel safe in their own homes. Let’s stop teaching kids to hide under their beds and, instead, educate everyone on acceptance and the importance of sharing accurate information.