Open Borders here we come. New cell phone helps Mexicans cross the border easier
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Open Borders here we come. New cell phone helps Mexicans cross the border easier

March 12, 2010, 8:39 am
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The Transborder Immigrant Tool may force congress to pass immigration reform ASAP
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Obama had better bring  Senators Schumer, D-NY, and  Graham R-SC's immigration reform bill to Congress as fast as possible otherwise Bang's laboratory new Transborder Immigrant Tool  will find every leak in the U.S. / Mexican border to allow immigrants easy access into the country.

Developed by  Ricardo Dominguez the Transborder Immigrant Tool, is a $30 GPS -enabled Motorola cell  that will help Mexican immigrants safely cross the border.

A  researcher at the University of California, San Diego,  he has is taken the cell phone technology even further that anyone had yet to imagne, by using these phones to  communication in unlikely places;the restricted border regions between nations. Data might point border-crossers to nearby sources of water, parse out the best routes or trails, or suggest the coolest time of the day to traverse the desert.

On startup, the app finds GPS satellites. Once the user begins moving, the app acts as a compass that shows the direction the user is heading and also shows the direction a user must travel to reach a "safety site."Although the Transborder Immigrant Tool has not yet been officially deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border, Dominguez's group will conduct "dress rehearsals" this summer with various U.S.- and Mexico-based churches and NGOs that assist migrants with safe passage.

As passage along most international borders is illegal without proper legal  documentation, the Transborder Immigrant Tool has generated much controversy. Dominguez says the tool and its deployment are not intended as a political statement, but rather as a new-media research project that combines a long-established aesthetic tradition (regional border art) with the UC San Diego artist's reputation for digital civil disobedience.  However , according to Dominguez " (One of the first things we did at BANG Lab was to interfere with the Minuteman Project in 2005.) They were quite angry because not only were we committing public actions against them, but Calit2 and the UCSD system were also supporting it. They're well aware of who we are and what we do. Once they get full knowledge of the Transborder Immigrant Tool--and we're very transparent about it--I'm sure they'll be quite critical."

"We are, in the end, artists," Dominguez explains. "We're not trying to create 'effective' tools but 'affective' tools. One of the layers of the tool is a poetic interface — a series of short haikus that welcome individuals and offer poetic respite. In this way, the tool will not only serve as a guide toward sustenance and survival, but will provide another layer of poetic sustenance.  This adds another layer to the question of GPS technologies, which can now be named the Global Poetic System."

"With this project," he continues, "we wanted to bring new media arts into the space of non-urban research with the goal of creating an inexpensive safety tool. We've kept the project very transparent, so for the most part, the reaction has been positive."

Dominguez says that he and many of his counterparts abroad envision using the Transborder Immigrant Tool (or incarnations thereof) to aid migrants crossing border spaces around the world. To expand the use of the tool, Dominguez and his U.S. colleagues — who include UC San Diego visual arts lecturer Brett Stalbaum and Calit2-affiliated researcher Micha Cardenas, as well as University of Michigan Professor Amy Sara Carroll — have created, a Web site that catalogs open-source development code to allow for replication and custom design.

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Open Borders here we come. New cell phone helps Mexicans cross the border easier
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