Know Your Rights
Know Your Rights
is an application created to empower individuals with information of their rights in order to defend themselves against constitutional violations.
Passion Project • Summer 2017
The U.S. has been known as a place that welcomes diversity and offers opportunities. However, structural barriers prevent immigrant integration, widening the disparity between foreign-born and native residents. Refugees and immigrants often struggle to learn English and inevitably face difficulties in finding housing, education, and health care. Many are unaware of their rights, which the system has frequently deprived them of.
As immigration policies are constantly changing, the undocumented community currently uses physical Red Cards which contain information about how to assert their constitutional rights along with an explanation for ICE agents.
The application will be a digital replacement of Red Cards and will equip individuals with more accessible and adequate information of their rights, enough to where they can feel more confident and reassured during an encounter.
The mobile application will:
1. replace Red Cards;
2. include audio option to teach folks how to communicate their rights in English;
3. be confidential and will not ask/hold any information about the user;
4. provide advice on protective measures (finding asylum) in the meantime;
5. educate citizens and non-citizens;
6. card printouts of their rights where folks can print from the app and immediately use.
I searched online for existing resources, looking under tags and organizations' websites. I noticed that the information on this pressing issue is abundant; however, it did not provide a comprehensive and consolidated list organized by need. I wanted to reorganize the resources and restructure the informations' visual hierarchy to make them more accessible and digestible for folks to find.
Ideation and Solutions
When a user clicks on one of the suggestions, they will be taken to another screen that will include various tips that are applicable to that certain scenario. In addition to advising what not to do, this application will provide advice and suggest what folks can do in their situation or what they can do to prepare in advance.
I also included explanations from the Red Cards that folks can say during a potential encounter. I added an audio option, so whomever is reading the explanations can learn how to say them in English (as notes written by authorities have been incorrectly recorded as 'uncooperative' or 'refused' non-English speaking victims in official records). Folks can also translate the explanations in their native language to better understand them.
I noticed that other organizations, along with the National Immigrant Resource Center (who created the Red Cards) have been distributing physical cards with explanations. Having a physical card can be helpful and practical in dangerous situations. It can also be beneficial for those who are living with disabilities. As someone who lives with a reading disability, I find that reading off of a paper rather than a digital device helps me retain information more effectively. The Disabled Students' Program at UC Berkeley also provides alternative media (e.g. digital) for students, which is why a mobile application would be helpful to use alongside the physical cards.
Although a mobile application can improve folks' understanding of their rights, it is not perfect. In a potential situation where officials may take away their phones or their phones' batteries die, it may be best to carry a physical card with them. I added another resources for the application where folks can print as many copies of the concise explanations as they'd like to have them on hand for themselves, friends, and family.
I would like to thank my friend who opened up to me about her undocumented status and shared that a solution like this would be helpful to undocumented folks. I hope to continue to use design as a tool to empower communities and partake in projects like these that will be helpful for folks' everyday lives until our policies reflect the communities' needs. It is never my intention to take over the narrative, and as an ally, I understand my privileges of having citizenship and an education and how important it is to use these privileges to provide spaces for undocumented immigrants. In this way, I can actively work with them and help amplify their voices.