The United States’ immigrant relief safeguards are only meaningful and effective if appropriate legal advice and information are available to those who need it: the 15,821 Mexican nationals who just received immigration court filings for their removal this year, or the 14,512 El Salvadoreans, 3,136 of whom are children. Migrant Acts is a lightweight and responsive website that democratizes immigration knowledge by connecting users to existing immigration relief programs. Primarily, it addresses the many barriers to these programs — limited access to legal aid, legal jargon and literacy — that vulnerable migrants face. It does not intend to replace legal advice, but rather provides a sense of legal direction for users. Migrant Acts makes the complex system of policy understandable while revealing its problematic history and exploring the author’s own family immigrant story and its relation to contemporary immigration.
This project is dedicated to my mom and dad. Thanks for feeding me natto and laksas even when I whined. None of this would have been possible without my thesis advisors, Elizabeth Ramsey and Virginia Kuhn. Their guidance and knowledge of critical media theory has profoundly impacted my work. I am grateful to David Lopez for his willingness to let me pester him with my coding bugs. Lastly, I am so lucky to have the support and friendship of Deena Khattab, Yasmin Majeed and Ansh Shukla.