Solution Brainstorming


Former Specific Problem Statement:

How might we secure access to public k-12 education for undocumented children in order to ensure that all children regardless of immigration status receive basic education.

When we met to work on further developing our problem statement we ran into a problem. When we started making connections (pictured above), it became very difficult to broaden our problem to the world. When we generalized our problem statement: “help ensure a basic level of education for children around the world”, our solutions didn’t get very far. We ended up coming to the conclusion that radio delivery of lessons or a decentralized learning platform could make a good fit. And our brains kind of stopped there….

When looking back to our problem statement for undocumented children in the US, we came to the conclusion that PR/activist organizing was the best solution. We also discovered from our research that the percentage of children being refused education was very small and active court cases are ongoing.

From an interview Dorothy conducted, she discovered that one of the most difficult areas for undocumented peoples that grew up in the US is getting funding for college.

There are active efforts to help students enroll: ( and were great finds) but they are not eligible for the same loans/grants as other US-raised students.

DACA: ( ) improves their ability to get a job, but does not help with establishing a form of credit or path to citizenship. While DAPA ( could possibly fill-in this gap, not all undocumented peoples would be eligible and the current US political climate does not bode well for such a bill to pass. We wanted to address this problem.

Our new problem statement became: How might we help secure increased rights for undocumented people living in the US since childhood in order to treat them more like citizens.   

We liked this problem statement because it can establish a system that will fill-out to other areas/rights (ex. Start with proof of having worked for x years, then establishing a credit record, right to school loans, etc.) as the public become more accepting of it.

Our possible solution takes advantage of blockchain, the power and trust of multinational corporations (MCNs), and can expand out to other countries. We can also bring other global systems already helping groups of undocumented  (refugees: ) and incorporate them as another piece of “proof of id.”

Here is the solution that we came up with:

This is our 20 year projection / provocation

It is a partnership between multinational corporations (MNCs) and the national government to create a mutually beneficial identification system that protects the identity of the individual and increases government efficiency in resource management/distribution.

The MNCs vouches for undocumented individuals through their employment in local businesses. It can be considered as a “privatized” and encrypted ID. It is privatized in the sense that it is administrated by a private corporation. This is based on the social entrepreneurial motivation. If a corporation really wants to do good, why not directly be the mechanism that does the administering? Instead of forming another foundation, form a database that collects undocumented workers’ identity, then encrypt it to be a number, a form of ID that the government trusts. The government should also participate in this partnership because MNCs have a lot of power in contributing to the economy through employment and production.

The MNCs would then partner with local businesses that has capacity to hire undocumented workers. The pay for the workers would be logged through block-chain to prove that each individual’s contribution to the local economy as well as to keep the trust in the whole system.

The individual would obtain a number from a random generation / encryption system as their ID so that even when they change jobs they would still have the same ID but registered with a different local business. The same ID can be used for healthcare and education.
This system is designed to leverage the economic power of undocumented labor as their identity that while providing them freedom in other realms, keep them from being known in the governmental realm.


Key Data points and insights during research:


1: Debra (Teacher)

  • 4th Grade teacher in Pawling central school (Yonkers).

  • Not experienced any cases of children being discriminated due to parent’s immigrant status.

  • Schools do not require SSN of parents for their children’s admission into public schools

  • Child must have a residency in the district to get admission.

  • Common Core assessment is not mandatory in public schools anymore.

  • Based on the “Guidance on Rights of Immigrant Students and Dignity for All Students Act” all schools in NY state have to protect child’s right to education.


2: Anusuya (Education)

  • Studied education policy, and has worked with teachers and policy makers in NYC.

  • Suggested to work on influencing school districts, as districts dictate how children gain entry into their schools at the ground level.

  • Stated that these Individuals face bigger issues while applying for jobs, or applying for higher education at universities, getting important ID’s like driver’s license and passports.

  • Activist Jose Antonio Vargas works around issues of undocumented individuals who have been living in America since childhood

  • Non profit which works on related issues of Undocumented children






3: Andres Donoso (Engineer)



  • His story on the New York Times

  • His story on

  • Works for Accenture as technology consultant

  • Grew up in South Florida

    1. Family from Ecuador

    2. There are refugees from Cuba, legal safety net to fall back on, citizenship, stipend

    3. Products of the public school

    4. Grandma got diagnosed with breast cancer, but there’s no way to see her.

      1. Renewed travel visa until he was 9, got here when he was 4, the attorney disappeared

      2. Regan policy gave his parents SSNs

  • He didn’t know his own immigration status until applying for university

  • Found outside/alternative scholarships, need-based

  • Became an RA in NYU’s Polytechnic School of Engineering

  • He volunteers for NYU’s First Generation Mentorship Program, prep them for internships, jobs

  • Brother - Public arts magnet high school, middle school

    1. Photography program in middle school, math high school

    2. Conservatory School upstate that helped him out for university

  • Sister - home schooled, working at a Law firm for immigration issues

    1. State of Florida passed a law a few years ago, that undocumented students to get state school tuition, which allowed his sister to attend a state univeristy with state tuition. Now they’re trying to undo the law.

    2. Andres will connect us soon.


  • In middle and high school, had issues applying for Free and Reduced Price School Meals. A lot of paperwork, the process asked very personal questions that wasn’t relevant to their family’s income.

  • Can’t leave the country! Need to apply for a permit to re-enter the country

    1. Humanitarian Aid, Family Emergency, Study/Educational Purposes

    2. Getting an approval does not guarantee a re-entrance.

  • There are no current legal pathways to get documented other than

  • Being undocumented makes him out of status

  • My current biggest frustration is that I have no outlet to be represented in the system

  • Can’t vote.

  • Going to a protest / march puts him at risk

  • Stigma / fear when dealing with law enforcement / authority in general

    1. Don’t get in trouble

    2. Don’t risk being in deportation

  • Feeling alone, have only met two hand-fulls of people in the same situation

  • The Trump administration has induced a lot of fear amongst the immigrant community

Reduced access to educational financial support:

  • Scholarship: State of Florida, state funded opportunities, bright futures scholarship, GPA, community service hours, requirement for a social security number

  • 75% or 100% coverage for local universities but couldn’t get it

  • Tuition: If he went to a city community college $1500 vs. 5000 international students fee

  • Couldn’t get any federal loans.

  • To other students, their safety net was taken for granted

  • “No matter how much you’ve achieved in high school, it would still feel impossible for us to make our way into the appropriate level of education.”

  • “I remember freshman year, in the dorms hanging out in the lounges hanging out with the new friends that I just made, and we were talking about our financial aid packages comparing the amount of aid that we’re each getting, via FAFFA. And that’s when it felt weird. Why were we even talking about this?”

What in the ideal world what would you want?

  • To be eligible for the same opportunities

What helped him:

  • Solid support system of allies

  • I-9 form for employment, created a black box? to store all of his money that he earned until he can legally receive it

  • All DACA students in a masters program meet together, forming a community

References / Resources:

  • - founded by tech CEOs to support immigration advocacy work

  • - interview in spanish, technology and immigration

  • - A collection of stories by self-identified undocumented immigrants

  • Articles on the amount of financial aid for undocumented students applied has quadrupled since the Trump administration

    1. “Immigrants will not self-deport”


  • DACA - If you can prove that you’re a child that came to the US can have access to get a social security card, allows him to get a drivers’ license, work etc.. Renewal every two years, $500 application fee

  • Administrative assistance through DACA, that has alleviated a lot of the fear, since they are self-identified to the system, DACA protects them from being deported

  • The Bridge Act, protection, make Obama’s DACA permanent, have bipartisan support, and reopen to ones that have been denied

    1. Dreamers - The Dream Act - never passed

  • DAPA - A bill for parents that was countered in the court, never passed

  • Accenture - Inclusion and diversity

  • Hispanic social group

Nitish WakalkarComment