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New app aims to be lifeline to loved ones of detained undocumented immigrants

New app aims to be lifeline for loved...

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - A new smartphone application can send an emergency text to loved ones if an undocumented immigrant gets detained by ICE.

"Everyone who owns smartphones should do it for the security of their families more than anything else," Maria Cuellar said.

The idea behind an application to notify undocumented immigrant's family, friends and even their attorney in case they are detained is already getting a positive response.

"Technology is a very important tool. We need to expose the things that are happening and to expose new systems that help us," Estela Gonzales said.

Notifica is an application designed by United We Dream, a youth immigration organization. It's a panic button of sorts, meant to be used in the chance, an undocumented immigrant is detained by ICE. A single tap of a smart phone through the application will send pre-loaded messages to specific contacts in an emergency.

One immigration attorney said it's a great idea but people shouldn't rely only on technology.

"I think that the driving force behind it is absolutely magnificent but we can't forget the situation where this application may be utilized which is in case of an immigration detention should we, will we have access to that application for that purpose that its meant to serve," immigration attorney Rosa Elena Sahagun said.

Sahagun said it's important for people to have backup plans in case they lose access to their phone. She said the best option is to remember a few phone numbers. One person we spoke with said the application would be a good precaution to take.

"[It's a] very good idea. Hopefully we can download it as soon as possible," Martin Hernandez said.

Sahagun said if an undocumented immigrant is detained by ICE, they have the right to remain silent and request to see an immigration judge before signing any paperwork.

The Notifica application has yet to be released but people can sign up to get a notification when it becomes available.


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