Making Government Work

Meet the Undocumented Immigrants Who Created an App to Press for Immigration Reform

January 29, 2014
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Meet the Undocumented Immigrants Who Created an App to Press for Immigration Reform
Screen grab via Vimeo/Push4Reform
A Zuckerberg-sponsored hackathon for immigrants produces its first tool.

Immigration reform advocacy group FWD.us has released a new app, Push4Reform, that will help people who care about changes in America’s immigration policy to connect with their representatives and make their voices heard. Entrepreneur and technology guru Joe Green founded FWD.us using his connections to Silicon Valley honchos–including his college buddy Mark Zuckerberg–to press for immigration reform, an issue Green has been passionate about since he was in high school.

In November, Green, Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn and FWD.us sponsored a hackathon for undocumented immigrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. as children to come up with ideas about immigration reform. Push4Reform is one of the first results, the winner of the hackathon’s “best advocacy” prize.

Users of the app can enter their zip code, learn about the immigration positions of their senators and representatives—both how they’ve voted and public statements they’ve made about the issue—and find out how to contact them.

The three developers behind Push4Reform, Luis Aguilar, Justino Mora, and Kent Tam, have a personal stake in the outcome of immigration reform. Aguilar came to U.S. from Mexico when he was nine and taught himself computer programming, but was forced to drop out of community college because as an undocumented immigrant, he was required to pay high out-of-state tuition rates. Mora, who arrived in the US at age 11, is a student in computer science at UCLA, and Tam studied at UCLA. He’s been an undocumented immigrant since his family brought him here from Hong Kong when he was nine. According to Pando.com, Tam recently received a work permit that will allow him to apply to jobs with tech companies, and hopefully the Push4Reform app will make such a happy ending possible for other immigrants.

MORE: When Immigration Reform Got Stuck in Washington, This Entrepreneur Stepped Up

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