"This New MexicoSchool welcomes families who live across the border" PBS NewsHour 2/28/2017
SUMMARY: As anxiety increases within the immigrant community over stepped-up enforcement along the U.S.-Mexican border, one small bi-national community in New Mexico is working hard to keep families connected through education and schooling. Special correspondent Simon Thompson reports from public media's Fronteras Desk and PBS station KRWG.
SIMON THOMPSON, Public Media: Daylight hasn't even broken, but 500 children who live in Palomas, Mexico, are up and on their way to school. Their commute is not typical.
They must first cross the international border into the U.S. They show their U.S. passports and birth certificates. Customs and Immigration officials inspect their school bags. Then they're bussed to school in Luna County, New Mexico.
Lizett Preciado is a senior at Deming High School in Luna County. A U.S. citizen, she's lived in Palomas with her parents for seven years.
LIZETT PRECIADO, Student, Deming High School: It was good to be able to go to school there. And, like, there's more opportunities to study and to have a better job in the future.
SIMON THOMPSON:Lizett and her family moved to Palomas from Colorado, after her mother, Rosa Marie, was deported for being in the United States illegally.
ROSA MARIA PRECIADO, Mother (through interpreter): I felt really bad, really badly, because I have four children who are citizens of the United States, and my husband is a resident. I didn't want to go back to live in Mexico. I know it is my country, but life in Mexico in really hard.
SIMON THOMPSON: Preciado and her husband, Ramon, makes their living in Palomas raising goats. Ramon still crosses occasionally back into the U.S. to work.
Preciado says having her children educated in the U.S. was important to her, and that's why they settled in Palomas.
ROSA MARIA PRECIADO (through interpreter): I came to Palomas because of a friend who said Palomas would be a good option to live with my children. It is easy to cross into the United States, and there is a bus to take them to school.
SIMON THOMPSON: Armando Chavez is the principal of Columbus Elementary in Luna County. He says the school district usually sees an influx of students when states enact strict immigration laws, as Arizona did in 2010.
ARMANDO CHAVEZ, Principal, Columbus Elementary: We are sometimes the holding spot for them, for them to fix the papers correctly. We are dealing with children that come from South Dakota, Missouri. It can be any state that they come, but we embrace our children that come to our door every day.