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Children Originally from Mexico or Born in the US Turned Away from Mexican Schools

Matt Chandler - Al Jazeera
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May 7, 2015
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Natalie Goes to School: Educating U.S. Citizens in Mexico (Kendal Blust)

"They treat him like a foreigner but he’s Mexican, he's from here. They've made it so difficult for him to study. I feel like they are discriminating against us."

Efigenia has cared for her grandson since birth and when he was nine she took him illegally to Los Angeles. He crossed the border in a car with a smuggler and then when she knew he was safe, she followed in the back of a trailer.

It was her third illegal crossing. For five years they lived with some of her other children and grandchildren in San Fernando. Despite his illegal status, Javier had no problems enrolling in a US school.

He was a good student and was about to start high school when Efigenia's husband got sick and they came back to Mexico.

It was then that Javier's education problems began. Despite a visit to the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles to get Javier's documents in order, the director of her local school in Cuautepec north of Mexico City said they wouldn't admit him without proof of what grade he had completed.

"I thought because he's from here it would be easy to get him into a school, but it was easier in the United States. Here they asked for many things," Efigenia told Al Jazeera. "They said his classes in the US weren't valid. I was sent all over the city dozens of times to different authorities."

In the end, after almost six months, they had no choice but to enrol Javier as an "oyente" - or unofficial student. He was allowed to go to classes to listen but he wasn't the school's responsibility and wouldn't receive any qualifications.

It's a familiar tale for thousands of children - originally from Mexico or born in the US to Mexican parents who return to Mexico after having studied in the US.

According to migrant rights' groups, the full number of children stuck in this bureaucractic limbo is not known.

Read the rest at Al Jazeera

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