Under the Secure Communities program, participating local law enforcement agencies alert immigration officials when a person they have arrested in booked into jail. Immigration officials say that the program helps them efficiently target criminals for quick deportation, but critics said that it is a dragnet that has ensnared immigrants who are not criminals. An interactive map shows where Secure Communities is most aggressive.
The Story Behind the Project
The interactive map created by the Magnificent 7 team is a powerful way for users to see the impact and reach of the Secure Communities program. Team members were also working on expanding their work to include an app that would let users know about their rights and resources.
Antonio Garcia, a programmer, had never really worked on immigration projects before. However, this work at Chicago Migrahack became highly personal. He is an undocumented immigrant, although he is now protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that gives temporary status and a work permit to those who came to the United States when they were young.
“I grew up in a suburb and often times felt afraid even to go get milk,” said Garcia, in an interview with the Nation about Migrahack. “From a social justice standpoint [Secure Communities] drives me crazy, but from a programmer standpoint, it really bothers me to see a system in use that does not work. It’s an issue that attacks me from all sides.”
Garcia added that he loved the chance to work with others who were passionate about the issue: “There are a lot of ideas bouncing around. It’s a great place to come up with a solution.”