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Settling Into a New Country Is Hard — But Luckily, There's an App for That

If smartphone technology makes it easier to moderate your personal life — from water consumption, to physical activity, to daily screen time — it also has the capacity to help you become a more engaged Global Citizen. 

Global Citizen is highlighting apps that give them the tools to engage with the global community with nothing more than a smartphone. 


For new immigrants to the United States, there is a laundry list of bureaucratic hurtles to check off: Finding a job, getting health insurance, and getting a visa or green card are just a few things on this list. There are also the daily questions of where to buy groceries, how to write a resume, and how to get involved in the local community. 

But as complicated as this process is, there are only a certain limited amount of resources for new immigrants, and many of them are off-limits for those who are undocumented. 

This is where apps like Arrived come in handy. Arrived is a one-stop shop for newcomers to the United States, a resource hub that informs new immigrants about what's happening in the news vis-a-vis immigration, how they can find help when they need it, and even how to learn English. Available to Android users in both English and Spanish, the app is one of several recently-developed programs that is helping new immigrants get and stay on their feet. 

Take action: Send a Message to the Department of Homeland Security to Show Your Support For Refugees

Developed by two Google employees, William McLaughlin and Eduardo Gaitan, who immigrated to the US from Colombia at a young age, the app has been downloaded over a 1,000 times since its release last summer. 

Along with its newsfeed function, Arrived has a huge bank of non-profits that are available for new immigrants — from tutoring services to asylum help. 

"There is a widespread, resounding, and deafening silence in the tech community for the undocumented immigrants, and we're just trying to fill that void," McLaughlin told CNN Money

But this might be starting to change. Several apps have been released in recent months that help both documented and undocumented immigrants, as well as refugees, adjust to life in the US. 

Read more: Refugees Are Paired With Volunteer Translators With This New App

One app, Notifica, introduced at South by Southwest conference, notifies undocumented immigrants of potential deportation raids and allows them to prerecord messages to send to friends and family in the case of their being deported. "You have the right to be prepared," the application's website states, in English and Spanish. 

It's been estimated that there are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants across the United States, many of whom hail from Central and South America. 

Another app, this one for refugees — called Tarjimly — offers pro-bono translation services in eight languages, including Arabic, Farsi, and German. 

For many new arrivals to any country, a smartphone can be a prized possession, and these new apps aimed at immigrants offer a small safety net for people often arriving at a challenging junction of their lives.