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Nearly Half a Million US Citizens are Enrolled in Mexican Schools, and Many Are Struggling

Kate Linthicum - The Los Angeles Times
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September 17, 2016
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Deportations lead to growing number of US citizens in Mexican schools (Al Jazeera America News)

Nearly half a million children who are U.S. citizens are enrolled in Mexican schools, according to the Mexican government. And there are at least another half a million Mexican-born young people who spent part of their life in the U.S. who have now returned home, according to estimates.

Most of the students educated in the U.S. and now living in Mexico are clustered in the northern border states, including Chihuahua and Baja California, said Monica Jacobo, a researcher at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics. About half of elementary school-age children born in the U.S. arrive in Mexico without the necessary identity documents to enroll in school, she found, and many end up missing class or even entire grades while their parents scramble to obtain the paperwork.

“Mexico is failing us,” said Maggie Loredo, a 26-year-old translator who lives in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi.

Loredo was born in Mexico but moved to Georgia with her parents illegally at age 3. By the time she was 18, she realized she couldn’t get a driver’s license, apply for college scholarships or legally work in the U.S., and decided to return to a country she barely knew.

Loredo didn’t apply for Mexico’s public universities because she couldn’t pass the entrance exams, which require written Spanish and a knowledge of Mexican history. The private school she sought to attend wouldn’t accept her U.S. high school transcripts.

“We often feel like foreigners,” she said. “We need programs that will help us adapt in our country. We need resource centers for deportees and returnees at universities. Why not support us with scholarships and leadership programs?”

Read the rest at The Los Angeles Times

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