Suffer the Latino children, such as Ark.'s Kaiti Tidwell | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Suffer the Latino children, such as Ark.'s Kaiti Tidwell

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 6:44 AM

KAITI TIDWELL: Arkansas high school graduate stuck in  Mexico.
  • KAITI TIDWELL: Arkansas high school graduate stuck in Mexico.
Arkansas had a taste of this recently with the forced return to Mexico of an Arkansas high school graduate who'd never known any home but Arkansas since floating across the Rio Grande on an inner tube as an infant. Leslie Peacock has been communicating with Kaiti Tidwell, and I hope to have more on her situation, which she's already said wasn't improved by President Obama's executive order because she had left the country.

The New York Times reports here on the problems facing the huge number of children returning to Mexico from the U.S. when parents were deported. Many, having been born in the U.S., are American citizens and may be able to return some day.

In all, 1.4 million Mexicans — including about 300,000 children born in the United States — moved to Mexico between 2005 and 2010, according to Mexican census figures. That is roughly double the rate of southbound migration from 1995 to 2000, and new government data published this month suggest that the flow is not diminishing. The result is an entire generation of children who blur the line between Mexican and American.

“It’s really a new phenomenon,” said Víctor Zúñiga, a sociologist at the University of Monterrey, in Nuevo León State, which borders Texas. “It’s the first time in the relationship between Mexico and the United States that we have a generation of young people sharing both societies during the early years of their lives.”

Critics of immigration have mostly welcomed the mass departure, but demographers and educators worry that far too many American children are being sent to schools in Mexico that are not equipped to integrate them. And because research shows that most of these children plan to return to the United States, some argue that what is Mexico’s challenge today will be an American problem tomorrow, with a new class of emerging immigrants: young adults with limited skills, troubled childhoods and the full rights of American citizenship.

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