As American kids pour across the border, Mexican schools struggle to keep up

Sep 6, 2017 by

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Kristen Hwang –

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Elizabeth Rossil, 11, looks just like her classmates. She wears a neatly pressed red polo shirt and a pleated plaid skirt with Mary Jane shoes — the school uniform that all the girls wear — and pulls her long hair back into a tight ponytail.

Giggling shyly with her classmates as they work on a grammar assignment, Elizabeth is indistinguishable from the 400 other children at her school.

But Elizabeth is different. She speaks English with a Southern California accent and for the past two years has been the only English-speaking kid in her class. She’s in sixth grade.

“I’m supposed to be in already seventh grade,” she says cheerfully. “I didn’t flunk or anything, but they made me go again … because I didn’t know anything in Spanish.”

Elizabeth is from Santa Clarita, Calif., but she goes to school in Tecate, Mexico, a picturesque mountain town on the border of Mexico and California. In August, she started her third year of school at Escuela Primaria Memorial Morse, one of the local elementary schools.

Like an increasing number of children in Southern California, Elizabeth and her older sister, Stephanie, moved to Mexico because their parents had been deported, and educators on both sides of the border worry that even more American kids will leave the U.S. since President Trump has made strict immigration policy a cornerstone of his agenda.More and more families are hedging their bets, preferring to stay united in Mexico rather than be separated by international borders.

Source: As American kids pour across the border, Mexican schools struggle to keep up

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