10:24 GMT +319 November 2019
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    Heads Up: New App Works As Alert System For Detained Immigrants

    © AP Photo/ LM Otero, FILE
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    A new app for iOS and Android helps immigrants in the US notify their selected contacts if they are ever detained by the country’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    The digital agency Huge partnered with the organization United We Dream to develop a portable alert system aimed at helping undocumented immigrants in case of an emergency. The Notifica app works as a panic button and allows those apprehended by ICE agents to quickly reach their relatives, friends or lawyers.

    With Notifica, users who fear they could face deportation can create and store personalized messages for a number of recipients, the idea being that a notification for family members would most likely be worded differently from the one you would send to your employer. If something happens, the user can activate and send all the separate messages in text with a single click.

    The app is protected by a code in case the user's phone is lost or stolen, so only the user has access to their preloaded notifications.

    "You have the right to be prepared," says the app's site. "Be prepared with Notifica, an app that sends out secure messages to your support network when you need it most."

    FILE - In this Monday, May 9, 2016 file photo, Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, center, speaks in Jackson, Miss., about a lawsuit the group filed against the state over House Bill 1523, which would allow workers to cite their own religious objections to same-sex marriage and deny services to citizens.
    © AP Photo / Emily Wagster Pettus
    Developers believe their invention could help lift some of the stress from undocumented immigrants' shoulders, as they at least will be able to quickly delegate some of their daily tasks to their loved ones.

    Huge has also launched a phone hotline for people who don't have a phone in reach but may be able to make a call afterwards.

    The Notifica app was launched in the wake of new immigration enforcement policies introduced by President Donald Trump. The new guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security vastly expand the definition of “criminal aliens”, targeting undocumented immigrants convicted of not only serious but ‘any’ criminal offence. Under the new directives, federal agents were authorized to use their discretion and detain any alien they have probably cause to believe is in violation of US immigration laws, as well as determine whether an illegal immigrant is eligible for expedited removal.



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