In the United States, the history of illegal immigration can be described as somewhat turbulent. Albeit it has been sometimes welcoming, sometimes exclusionary (1), it is undeniable that immigrants have been central in the construction of this country. Today we are witnessing several injustices and unfair treatment towards undocumented (and many times documented) immigrants. Many of these injustices are imparted through the systematic approach of political discourse and technological tools. Ironically enough, some of these technologies, which could be considered to be a part of ‘Silicon Valley’, have been created with the labor of undocumented immigrants.
Silicon Valley became the tech hub of the world thanks to a very different set of workers. Unlike the postwar industries that created a middle class from union wages, electronics expanded in the 1970s and ’80s through low-cost, often subcontracted, often undocumented labor. Instead of self-aware robots or high-dollar professionals, it was women of color, mostly immigrants — hunched over tables with magnifying glasses, assembling parts sometimes on a factory line, sometimes on a kitchen table — who did the necessary but toxic work of semiconductor manufacturing. Many of the undocumented workers were from Mexico, while many of the documented ones were from there and Vietnam.
The political ideology which has been in power for the last four years in the United States has been more severe in its battle against undocumented immigrants residing in the country. As said in an article about 300 undocumented tech workers arrested on their job-site, these actions “punctuates the push by the Trump administration to target companies employing people who federal authorities say are not authorized to be in the U.S”. (2).
My idea would be to create a way in which undocumented workers could offer their labor(tech is the first that comes to mind) through some tool that allows them anonymity. By anonymity, I specifically mean the possibility for them to work away from a specific physical space, as well as access to some payment system without identity/legal status registration (bitcoins?).
1 – U.S. Immigration Timeline https://www.history.com/topics/immigration/immigration-united-states-timeline – Consulted November 3, 2020
2 – Nearly 300 undocumented immigrants arrested at a tech business in Texas https://www.kusi.com/nearly-300-undocumented-immigrants-arrested-at-a-tech-business-in-texas/ – Consulted November 3, 2020