An App For Betrayal

Published on December 2nd, 2009

A smart phone to help kill American jobs

By Mark Cromer

If the United States “drug war” was a indeed a real war; then the announcement by a UC San Diego research team that it has developed a smart phone program to help guide illegal immigrants over the American frontier would be nothing less than an act of high treason.

But since the half-hearted efforts to staunch the flow of narcotics flooding the U.S. is little more than a long-running government parlor game that empowers select circles in Washington, enriches the Mexican cartels and ensures a steady supply of high-grade dope to keep inner-city and rural America perpetually stoned—this new “app” for illegal border crossers is merely another pedestrian betrayal of our sovereign law that is so commonplace today.

Hailed by its creators as a “Transborder Immigrant Tool,” the application apparently integrates GPS technology and other features into a Motorola cell phone that will help clandestine immigrants better navigate around obstacles, whether they are rough terrain or the Border Patrol.

Ricardo Dominguez, a faculty member at UCSD and one of the creators of the application, blithely asserts that the high-tech tool is an act of “electronic civil disobedience,” one he no doubt feels will offer a small assist to what he sees as a global struggle for social justice.

Indeed, during an interview several years ago Dominguez declared his support for a “manifestation of global citizenship on a very local level. It is part of a call for global health care, global rights to education, a living wage as a global right, global law vs. Phantom-States that commit every resource to creating a neo-liberal Empire of Disorder of unregulated and mobile market forces that polarize social differences among and within societies.”

While such cant is ethereal enough to bill (or is that bilk?) the students at UCSD for another 40% tuition increase, I wonder how it will play with the American workers who now fill the unemployment lines?

Real “civil disobedience” in today’s climate would be to program the phones with a feature that alerts ICE as soon as the illegal immigrant is on the jobsite, so the employer can be arrested as the illegal worker is deported.

Of course that’s not likely to happen, but one has to wonder what other options Dominguez and his team of designers might program the application to produce for northbound immigrants intent on breaking into the U.S.?

Certainly a popular feature for newly arrived female illegal immigrants would be information on how to use America’s policy of birthright citizenship to obtain immediate welfare payments and other taxpayer-funded assistance, as well maps to conveniently located maternity wards.

The app might also come with an emergency “Busted” feature: a button that illegal immigrants can push if apprehended by law enforcement that will activate a computer-generated voice over the speaker phone informing officers—in English—that the immigrant will not speak with them and demand access to the Mexican consul.

Maybe for a few bucks extra, the researchers can offer the narco mules shuttling dope across the border a premium upgrade; a UCSD stenciled handset that can display hi-res, up-to-the-minute satellite imagery of their select drop-points. Maybe even choice street dealer locations in the event the smugglers want to offer a direct-to-consumer sale.

These features would put the project a lot closer to the truth of what they are doing than some self-aggrandizing terms like “electronic civil disobedience.”

But I do think they came close to correctly naming their effort to further undermine the American worker and erode the security of our communities. I would just shorten the title to ‘Transborder Tools.’

Dominguez and his fellow travelers at UCSD—well meaning as they may indeed be—are deploying technology that could have come right off the Christmas wish list of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big agribusiness hungry for cheap labor. And a U.S. government that has long abetted their illegal immigration scam to import that labor.

They may have developed the app, but it is they who are the tools.

Mark Cromer is a senior writing fellow at Californians for Population Stabilization.

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