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Latino Daily News

Monday February 11, 2013

Smartphone App Lets Immigration Stopped on Immigration Violations Know their Rights

Smartphone App Lets Immigration Stopped on Immigration Violations Know their Rights

Photo: Derechos Herencia iApp

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The unpleasantness of being detained by immigration agents inspired Deyvid Morales to create a Spanish-language app for cell phones and tablets with crucial information for other undocumented immigrants who find themselves in custody.

“There are many apps on immigrant rights but not in Spanish, and our Hispanic community needs that kind of information all the time - that was part of the reason why I began this project,” the 21-year-old told Efe.

Morales, who lives in Utah, was detained by the Border Patrol for the first time in January 2011 while traveling to Louisiana by Greyhound bus to attend Bible college.

For more than a year, the Mexican-born aspiring pastor fought to have his deportation suspended until Immigration and Customs Enforcement finally shelved the case.

But Morales had to deal with immigration authorities again last June while riding a Greyhound bus from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Phoenix.

“They began asking people for their papers, and right then I realized I didn’t know my rights, which is when I got the idea for an app to keep everybody informed,” Morales said.

The idea for the app, Derechos Herencia (Inheritance Rights), began to take shape in October 2012 and is “a tribute to those who have struggled to maintain our roots in this country.”

Morales worked with Seattle-based software developer Subsplash, which creates Christian apps for smartphones.

Derechos Herencia, which can be downloaded free on iPhones, Android phones and iPads, explains what to do in the event of arrest or a house search.

Close to 5,000 people had downloaded the app as of last month, Morales said.

Morales, who won a reprieve from deportation under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also said that smartphones are an ideal way to get information out to the Hispanic community.

Survey firm Nielsen estimates that by 2016, 63 percent of Latinos in the country will be using smartphones.