Notifica app expands resources for immigrant youth and their families

Notifica was launched in 2017 to provide emergency resources for immigrant communities facing mass deportations.

Image: united we dream

By Chase DiBenedetto

Youth-led immigrant network United We Dream announced an updated version of its “first-of-its-kind” app that connects immigrants to on-demand emergency resources to use when faced with possible deportation by immigration enforcement. 

The advocacy group launched the Notifica app in 2017 amid concern over the former Trump administration’s strict immigration policies and mass deportation raids, Mashable reported. At the time, United We Dream’s director of membership, Adrian Reyna, called the new technology a “panic button” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests. 

The app allows users to create “Preparedness Plans” in case they’re detained by immigration officials. The user presses the emergency Notifica button, which notifies a user-uploaded emergency contact in the user’s “Deportation Defense Network” and shares their last known location. The contact can then access legal information and other resources provided by United We Dream about arrests and deportations. The app clears all user data for the individual’s protection. 

On Wednesday, United We Dream announced that the emergency-centered app would add additional resources for its users, including mental health resources through the new “UndocuHealth Hub,” as well as updated guides on how to apply or renew applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — transitioning the app from emergency use to a round-the-clock resource. 

The Biden administration is still deporting people! Immigrant communities need to be prepared in case they face immigration agents. Download @UnitedWeDream’s Notifica app! Organize and fight back!

📱 Text “Notifica” to 877877 to get a download link!

— United We Dream (@UNITEDWEDREAM) February 24, 2021

Other additions to the app include up-to-date information about the Biden administration’s actions on immigration reform and DACA, and links to community resources like legal support, DACA clinics, and organizing opportunities through United We Dream’s nationwide affiliates. Notifica also expands on its Know Your Rights features to guide users through law enforcement interactions, including how to speak to officials at your door and how to document and report such incidents. 

After linking the Notifica app to a phone number, users are prompted to “build” their Deportation Defense Network — which includes setting emergency contacts and prewritten messages — and protect their phone data by setting passwords before using the Notifica alert button. They can also call United We Dream’s MigraWatch hotline directly in the app to report ICE activity. App users that choose not to link their phone numbers or create a Notifica account can still access the newly added resources, linked on the app’s home screen.

The app’s new updates can be access on the home screen menu, without linking a phone number.

Image: united we dream

Notifica also offers contact information for United We Dream chapters and immigration groups in the user’s area.


Notifica updates users with important news and resources for immigrants and undocumented communities.

Image: united we dream

The Know Your Rights section explains your legal obligations should immigration officials come to your door, provided by the ACLU.

Image: United we dream

The Biden administration has already stirred concern with immigration activists after news outlets reported a Texas judge would overturn Biden’s 100-day deportation pause, which was announced in the first days of Biden’s presidency. The Associated Press reported on Feb. 1 that the administration had already deported “hundreds” of migrants to at least three countries. 

In a Wednesday press release, Cynthia Garcia, United We Dream’s national campaign manager for community protection, said the expanded app is a way for community members to keep each other safe as activists continue to push the new administration on its commitments to immigration reform. “The only way to ensure safety for immigrants from police, ICE, and CBP is to defund and abolish them, but Notifica helps provide a layer of protection and some peace of mind,” Garcia wrote.

The app is available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play. Current users can also text “NOTIFICA” to 877-877 to download the update.  

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Chase DiBenedetto