Opinion

New iPhone app for Arizona immigration law!

Arizona's new immigration law spurred me to create an iPhone app that helps you detect illegal immigrants.

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Arizona has just passed a new immigration law requiring police officers to stop anyone who looks like they might be in the promised land of Arizona illegally. Sure the law has sparked some controversy. But because this is America, it can also spur innovation and commerce.

Take me, for example. I'm already hard at work on a new iPhone app that will help Arizona cops and the good citizens of Arizona ­perform their new duties and root out illegals. And because it¹s an app, it's useful and fun.

You're going to love using Illegal Eagle, the iPhone app that helps you determine who's an illegal.

Step 1: Take a photo of the suspect. Then watch as the app sifts through multiple data points based on solid anecdotal evidence from thousands of interviews with police officers who have busted illegals in the past. For example, does the suspect have greasy hair? That could be a tell. It's aknown fact that illegals don't have regular access to shower facilities.

Stained fingertips? Could be from picking berries. Another sign. And there are so many more loaded into this powerful app.

Step 2: Now the app will ask you three questions to which you answer yes or no.

Question 1: Does the suspect look nervous? People tend to look nervous when you're pointing a camera at them, but this is especially true of illegals.

Question 2: Does the suspect look like he or she could sing The Star Spangled Banner if asked?

Question 3: This one is geo-targeted. The app checks your global position and then customizes the question. For example, if you're in Arizona, it asks you if the suspect looks as if he or she is of Mexican descent. And it prompts you with pictures of typical people from Latin American countries such as Columbia, Mexico – even Chile.

But let's say you're in northern California, and they've just passed a similar law. You're in luck as long as you have the Illegal Eagle app. You'll be prompted with prototypical photos of people from Asian countries.

Living in Detroit? You'll be able to browse pictures of people from obscure Middle Eastern countries.

Step 3: Now the app shows you one of three verdicts. Illegal. Legal. Not enough anecdotal evidence.

If there's still not enough anecdotal evidence to reach a verdict, the app prompts you to ask the suspect a question. Try something simple, like "Que Pasa?" Then record the answer with your iPhone's microphone. The app is loaded with a huge database of dialects, accents, and idioms that are strongly linked to illegal status.

Now you've got your answer. It's that simple.

The Illegal Eagle: Made in America, by legal software programmers working in my garage. And because this is America, several of these programmers were not originally born in America, if you know what I mean. (I assure you they have green cards). Anyhow, one of them came up with another app, one designed to help Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform.

It's a sort of video game called Home of the Brave. Each elected official selects an avatar and then selects what country he or she is from. Then the senator or representative has to get that avatar through a world of pain to the shores of America. Lots of action along the way ­ daring escapes, secret roundezvous. Apparently, it's based on empathy theory or some such thing.

You've got to love immigrants ­ legal ones, that is. They're still naïve enough to believe in the promise of America and some words they read on a statue, something about "tired masses yearning to breathe free."

Jim Sollisch is creative director at Marcus Thomas Advertising in Cleveland.

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