Photo: U.S. Children in Mexico
As a result of the slow United States economy, many Mexican migrant workers are returning with their families to their homeland to find jobs and reconnect with other family members. Yet, many families have not found their return to go smoothly for their U.S. born children. Thousands of children of migrant workers returning to Mexico now find themselves denied access to basic rights, such as school and health care.
According to the Mexican government, any official documents from other countries must first be certified with a special stamp known as an ‘apostille’ then be translated by a certified translator in Mexico. This process can be timely, costly, and extremely confusing for many parents.
Out of the total of 1.4 million people who have returned to Mexico since 2005, 300,000 were U.S. born children. In 2011 the number of U.S. born children living in Mexico with at least one Mexican parent was 500,000. With these numbers continuing to increase as more and more people decide to return home or are deported by the government, many families are in need of assistance.
Although the Mexican government does little to help these families, one group called the Corner Project provides aid to families in Malinalco, Mexico. The nonprofit organization arranged for state government workers to travel to the town and meet with families while also helping to send documents to the necessary U.S. government offices. “The government doesn’t care about what happens to the people who are coming back,” stated Maria del Rosario Leyva. She recently returned to Mexico from Santa Ana, California, with her two U.S. born children, a three year old boy and a five year old girl after their father was deported.
Hirokazu Yoshikawa, the academic dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as well as author of “Immigrants Raising Citizens: Undocumented Parents and their Young Children, states, “These are children who are kind of stateless in both countries. Each generation is undocumented in one country.”
Although Leyva was able to work with Corner Project and receive a permit showing schools that her children’s paperwork is in progress, Leyva knows that her children’s future is not in Mexico. “When they are old enough, they will leave,” she said with moistened eyes. “Their future is not here. Their children will have papers; the children of their children will also have papers. The problems will end.”