Cellphone app could help illegal immigrants

Tom Marcinko @ 04-12-2009

64 sqThis is going to be controversial:

A UC San Diego professor said he has developed a cell phone tool that may help guide illegal immigrants safely across the border.

Similar to the way hungry drivers can find a restaurant through the global positioning system devices in their cars and cell phones, illegal immigrants soon may be able to plot their ways across the treacherous border between the United States and Mexico.

“It shares some aspects of the GPS systems that people have in cars,” said Ricardo Dominguez, a professor of visual arts at UC San Diego. “It locates where you are in relation to where you want to go, what is the best way to get to that point and what you can expect when you reach the endpoint.”

Dominguez, an activist and artist, said the reason for developing the technology, which he calls the Transborder Immigrant Tool, is to keep people safe.

As many as 5,000 people in the last 15 years have died trying to cross the border.

[Story tip: New Times Phoenix blog; image: sixty-four squares, theilr]

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5 Responses to “Cellphone app could help illegal immigrants”

  1. khannea says:

    Hmmmm interesting, so what If I create a similar app that helps people smugglers, narcotics smugglers?

  2. Robert Koslover says:

    “As many as 5,000 people in the last 15 years have died trying to cross the border.” That sounds terrible. Yet, in the context of: (1) having perhaps 15,000,000 illegal aliens now in the country, and (2) that if we assume that at least 1/3 of those (i.e., 5,000,000) crossed over during the last 15 years (which would seem likely) then 5000 deaths implies an illegal crossing-survival rate > 99.9% Considering that the activity is illegal (so that one should expect it to involve at least *some* risk) a >99.9% survival rate could actually be perceived as relatively low risk. Do you happen to have any data for the survival rates (per criminal act) among those who choose to commit other federal crimes?

  3. khannea says:

    ‘Do you happen to have any data for the survival rates (per criminal act) among those who choose to commit other federal crimes?’

    Wow — what if it is TWO TIMES the rate of ordinary americans? Then you’d actually need those FEMA camps!

  4. Tom Marcinko says:

    Dying of exposure in the desert sounds pretty bad no matter how you slice it.

    However, I’m not weighing in right now on the pros or cons of this. There are others in the article linked to (which was, I thought, reasonably fair and balanced and quoted law enforcement as well as activists).

    I just thought it was interesting, and does indeed have futurehead-y implications. Wouldn’t be surprised if apps did exist for smugglers of anything. Could be handy for refugees on other continents. Etc. A nice bit of business for your story about mass dislocation.

  5. Dean says:

    I support that app 100%. Screw the border patrol.

    And cheers to whoever it is that invented this!