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This app is the panic button for undocumented immigrants when ICE comes knocking


This app is the panic button for undocumented immigrants when ICE comes knocking

WATCH | Notifica is an app that wants to make communicating with loved ones when ICE comes knocking as easy as the click of a button.

In a moment where it is difficult to figure out what to do, we wanted to boil down what people needed to do to one click.
Adrian Reyna, Notifica co-founder

Notifica is a mobile application that wants to make Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests less stressful for undocumented immigrants.

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The app's founders are quick to note that the app isn't meant to notify the public at large about ICE raids. They say there's a lot of unnecessary panic caused when potential misinformation spreads.

How it works

Users can load 15 different pre-written messages for multiple people that can be deployed with the click of one button.

The messages can be anything, says co-founder Adrian Reyna.

They can be "a message to your attorney, saying they need to quickly move and find what detention facility they're in," Reyna said.

"Sometimes people go days without their medication, [so] even if you are [detained], they can bring you your asthma medication or anything else," Reyna said.

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Users are asked to create a six-digit pin to access the app. After the messages are sent via a secure network, they're deleted from the app.

What ICE says

ICE told Circa that it guarantees detainees access to telephones 24/7 once they're placed in a facility.

But that's a process that can sometimes take days. That's something both ICE and Reyna agree on.

ICE says it's concerned about platforms like this because they could spread misinformation. For relatives wondering about someone's whereabouts, ICE recommends using its Online Detainee Locator System.

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ICE also said that detainees undergo a medical exam once they're placed in a facility.

What potential users think

The app hasn't officially launched yet, but undocumented immigrants like Melody Klingenfuss are eager to have it in their pocket.

"Through the undocumented student community that I'm a part of," Klingenfuss said, "we're constantly updating each other through social media, and that's not as effective as it could be."

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Reyna is an undocumented immigrant who came to the U.S. from Mexico in 2004. He is now the director of membership and technology strategies at United We Dream.

What started the app

Reyna decided to start the app because he was frustrated with how ICE handles arrests.

He says they usually happen quickly and give detainees virtually no time to communicate with family or friends about what happened before they get to a facility, which can sometimes take days.

The app was developed by United We Dream, a pro-immigrant organization, and the digital agency Huge.

How to get the app

Reyna says the app is doing a soft launch the week of April 17 in select cities.

To find out if it's available in your city, visit notifica.us and enter your number to receive updates.

United We Dream plans to roll out the app nationwide in the next few weeks.

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