Project Pop-Up Citizen

Jocelyn Flores, Jaret Smith, and I were tasked with designing a solution to a social issue with interactive elements and a pop–up business structure.

Immigration has become a polarized subject as tragedies at the U.S.–Mexico border have been given more media attention. Personal connections lead our team to dig into this topic and formulate a human-centered solution.


Academic Research

We began by executing preliminary research to gain a solid understanding of immigration in the United States. Recent Pew Research has stated that 44.8 million
U.S. residents are foreign–born, almost a quarter of which are residing illegally.

The current sociopolitical conversation around immigration most often comes to a divide when deciding how illegal immigration situations should be handled. There are legal pathways to residing in the United States so the amount of illegal immigration was curious.

To focus our deeper research, we looked into the demographics of the U.S. illegal immigrant population and found that 25% of this population was born in Mexico.

Directing our Approach

Before conducting surveys and interviews, we sought to gain a better understanding of why illegal migration is so often favored over legal methods. Through published research articles and journals, we found that Mexican migrants choosing illegal migration methods were often from low-income circumstances facing dangerous situations. These conditions create a desperate need for a safe, stable environment. However, two major obstacles stand in the way: information and resources.

Mexican citizens most commonly depend on the experiences of their friends and family to guide and influence their own migration journey. Many of these stories consist of difficulties navigating the legal process of immigration that led to expensive extensions of their timeline. Procuring necessary documents is often impossible without guidance and financial resources. Hiring credible legal help is expensive and cheaper/free options are often overworked making both unsuitable in an emergency situations for low-income families.


Due to the sensitive nature of the circumstances surrounding our target audience, the team decided to utilize Google Forms to maintain anonymity while gathering insights on our users' experiences. The questionnaire was posted in migration support groups on Facebook with the permission of moderators, and shared among our team's personal connections within the Mexican immigrant demographic.

Below are our four major deductions and how we applied them to our process.


We must design a solution that will make the legal immigration process more accessible, supplement travel needs to protect children and families, and set them up for success post-migration.

My team and I formulated a non-profit organization supported by U.S. government grants and partnerships with trusted businesses to provide information, connect credible resources, and help guide families to their better future.

How we’ll do it

First contact

We chose to advertise FROM services through environmental advertising to more directly reach the demographic, especially those without access to modern comforts like Internet and technology.

Proposed Mural: Felicity Fry

Find more about us

Jocelyn Flores designed a website that would explain the FROM process and how to reach us. The user could choose their exact location to locate FROM services near them. Short online video appointments would be available for general information or assistance regarding FROM services. Users could then set up an in-person appointment to discuss the specifics of their desired immigration process and what resources are available.

If users were unable to transport themselves to our location, they would be able to apply for a taxi voucher.

Getting all set up

A pop-up format allows for flexible locations so that we may reach people more efficiently and with less expense. Local volunteers will be trained and charged with gaining insight on what the user’s goal is. If the user is in dire need of immediate help, they will be prioritized and our staff will proceed with proper emergency procedure. If not, the user will be able to schedule follow up appointments with our support team to address specific issues. Through this preparation phase, user’s will meet with their designated support member who will aid the user in gathering necessary documents, materials, and resources. Upon conclusion, the support team member will create a travel plan for our user to get from where they are to their destination across the border.

Our popups will also host public general informational meetings that offer an overview of the legal immigration process.

Below are my proposed exterior, lobby, and office space designs.

Go time!

FROM will work with businesses to secure donations for physical and transportation needs. The TOMA is a weather-resistant, solar, handheld, satellite device made by Garmin and recommissioned with FROM software. The device is programmed with the user’s travel plan that includes: digital copies of all necessary documents, navigation routes, and maps of surrounding resources for legal, health, lodging, supplies, and financial aide. For families traveling with children, the TOMA Kids watch-style device can be paired to allow two-way communication and location monitoring.

These items will be packaged in a “FROM Pack” backpack along with a reusable water bottle and binder for hard copy documents.

Below is a video walkthrough of the TOMA device, designed and prototyped by me, followed by the FROM pack, designed by Jaret Smith.

Final Stop

At the conclusion of travel, users will be directed to return the device to a stateside popup location near them, where the device will be wiped of all personal information to be reused in the FROM process. User’s will retain access to FROM help services if need be.

Mockup: Felicity Fry