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Utah man creates app to teach immigrants their rights

Utah man creates app to teach immigrants their rights. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Deyvid Morales, a 25-year-old immigrant who has lived in Utah most of his life, helped create and launch an app to help other immigrants learn their constitutional rights.

The app mostly aims to help undocumented immigrants, he said, although the information is helpful to documented immigrants and citizens, as well.

"Even if people don't think that immigrants have rights under the U.S. Constitution, immigrants have a lot of rights,"he said.

Morales said the app, called DIA — short for Derechos de Inmigrantes y Ayuda — which means rights and resources of immigrants.

It's free and, since it launched last Friday, it's had more than 5,000 downloads.

The app tells immigrants what their rights are should they have encounters with police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Border Patrol. It also tells them their rights at airports and ports of entry around the country.

It shows people what a real warrant looks like, should ICE agents or police show up at their door. Morales said this is important as many immigrants, especially those who are undocumented, are often duped by people who present them with papers that aren't arrest warrants and have no authority to arrest them.

Morales also includes information in the app that helps people understand the process of applying for visas and green cards.

He was inspired to produce the app by his own near-deportation experience in 2011.

Right after he graduated from Granite Peaks High in Utah, Morales took a bus and headed to bible college with dreams of becoming a church pastor.

On the way, immigration agents boarded the bus and asked questions. Morales volunteered that he was an immigrant.

He spent 17 days in a Louisiana jail and then came back to Utah to be placed on house arrest for over a year.

"A lot of that could have been prevented, I just known my rights,"he said

Morales said it was a painful time for him and his family.

Later, he was granted a permit to work and go to school in the United States through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy enacted by former President Barack Obama in 2012.

He is currently awaiting word on his green card application.

Morales said he hopes the app helps other immigrants like him.

"I don't want what happened to me to happen to anyone else," he said.

The app is funded by donations, including a one time donation from the Mexican government.

Morales is currently looking for more donors.

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