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American-Mexicans: U.S.A. Born Children Moving With Deported Parents

June 24, 2012
Plain English Version

Thanks to Shaul Schwarz of the New York Times

The Secure Communities Act is resulting in the deportation of many families to Mexico with children who were born in the Unites States and are U.S. citizens.

America is home and Mexico is a new land to these youngsters. There are about 300,000 children who moved to Mexico with their parents in the last ten years.

What does this mean to the children? An expert said, “These kinds of changes are really traumatic for kids.”

The story of the family of Tomás Isidoro is increasingly common. He was caught with a broken taillight on his vehicle and without immigration papers, and was deported. He has two American sons— Jeffrey, 10 and  Tommy , 2.

He now lives in Izúcar de Matamoros, a town south of Mexico City. Jeffrey is struggling. Since he does not speak Spanish very well, other children make fun of him.

Jeffrey thinks about his life in Houston, Texas where  his school had a playground and computers. He went to McDonald’s and the school library. In Mexico, parents send lunch with children to his school because there is no cafeteria.

Mexicans sometimes think returnees abandoned Mexico. Some resent the United States. Some view returnees as too concerned with material things and out of touch with Mexican culture.

Mexican students tend to see American-educated kids as strangers. Jeffrey’s experience is typical: He is friendly and quick to talk  in English. He is quiet at school as  Spanish is the only language spoken.

An expert said children of Jeffrey’s age were more likely to struggle with the transition. They are preadolescents, an  age where they become aware of differences and  their identity is being formed.

Some will make the transition easily while others will suffer many setbacks depending on their language skills, school and the family.

Jeffrey is like many other children whose parents have moved to a country they do not know. He swings between catching up to his classmates and falling further behind. His parents are struggling to find work and keep their marriage together.

Jeffrey, in quieter moments, said he was just trying to endure until he could go home. “I dream, like, I’m sleeping in the United States” he said. “But when I wake up, I’m in Mexico.”

Mr. Isidoro said “There are all these drug addicts, drug dealers, people who do nothing in the United States, and you’re going to kick people like me out” he said. “Why?

The New York Times

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