The Hackathon brought together 20 undocumented immigrants who hold technology-focused degrees to come up with prototypes of products to assist the immigration reform movement. The participants were divided in teams and paired with tech experts. The final products include websites and apps that educated citizens about immigration issues and/or connect constituents with the congressional leaders who represent them. The winner app “Undoculife” of Erick Garcia, creates a virtual world where users are put through real-life scenarios that undocumented immigrants confront in their daily lives. Another app, Forward Now, identifies and features influential people in support of immigration reform. One of the websites created, the Push4Reform, aggregates the political positions on immigration reform of all members of Congress, and allows users to see where their own representatives stand as well as to share their own ideas or connect with political leaders.
“We wanted to come up with a tool to not only empower our community and educate them about their rights and what they can do to defend themselves, but also to show what we (undocumented immigrants) struggle with on a daily basis” said Garcia.
A few of Dreamers selected for the Hackathon are already working for tech companies, as they are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by the the Obama administration over a year ago, which granted them employment authorization cards. We hope that the Hackathon shows to the U.S. society that an immigration reform will not only benefit the undocumented immigrants, but the U.S. society as a whole.