Border studies: heightened security procedures don't stop Mexican students who want American college degrees.At 9:30 on a Wednesday morning in July, eastbound east·bound
Going toward the east.
going towards the east
Adj. 1. traffic on the Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomates is already backed up for nearly half a mile from the U.S. border checkpoint It has been suggested to create a new article named Checkpoint (security) and that this article should be a sub-article to the new article. . Sitting in his family's battered Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera was a mid-size car produced from 1982 through 1996 at the Oklahoma City plant, the Saint Therese Assembly plant (until 1991) Framingham, Massachusetts and Doraville, Georgia plant for the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. in the middle of the bridge, Adrian A. Sanchez takes no notice. Instead, he reviews pages in his physics textbook to prepare for his first day of summer school.
A hundred yards to his right, the harsh sunlight glints off a tall chain-link fence between the car and the Rio Grande Rio Grande, city, Brazil
Rio Grande (rē` grän`dĭ), city (1991 pop. . Crowning the barrier are whirls of razor wire that spiral to the horizon.
Class starts at 10 and Mr. Sanchez, who wants to be there early, left his home in Matamoros at 9. Depending on the day, time, and the level of the homeland-security alert in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , the five-mile trip might take 30 minutes, or it might take two hours. His father, Luis, who is driving, jockeys through the lines of cars to get ahead.
For two years now, Adrian and his father have crossed the Matamoros to Brownsville so Adrian can get his bachelor's degree in chemistry at the University of Texas at Brownsville, located just across the border.
The Sanchezes are not alone. It is estimated that between 7,000 and 12,000 Mexican students cross the border daily or weekly to attend classes at a dozen public colleges in three states: Arizona, California and Texas.
Experts on U.S.-Mexico border relations say it is impossible, though, to pinpoint more precisely how many Mexicans cross regularly. A main reason is that the F-1 visa The Immigration and Nationality Act provides two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. The F-1 visa is a category of student visa, given by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). for international students assumes that they will reside in the United States, so Mexican students who cross the border are not tracked by where they actually live. Many residents of the region don't live in the country where they hold citizenship, and mailing addresses are often established for convenience.
Life along the border is fluid. Many people have relatives in both countries and may live on either side of the border on any given day. Americans and Mexicans cross the border on short notice to shop, eat, do business, or visit. "They come for a course in English like they come for a haircut," says Jose G. Martin, Brownsville's provost and vice president of academic affairs. Many, like Mr. Sanchez, also come for degrees.
But the heightened security procedures put in place since Sept. 11, 2001, are making long lines In communications, circuits that are capable of handling transmissions over long distances. to get into the United States a way of life for these students. And at a time when colleges along the border are trying to increase the number of college graduates among the fast-growing Hispanic population, higher-education officials are worried that the security measures Noun 1. security measures - measures taken as a precaution against theft or espionage or sabotage etc.; "military security has been stepped up since the recent uprising"
security may discourage Mexican students from applying to their institutions.
In Texas the state demographer released a report in 2002 that predicted that $9 percent of the state's population would be Hispanic by 2040. Brownsville is already 91.3 percent Hispanic. The report also warned that unless more Hispanic residents get college degrees, the state's economy will lag.
"As the lower Rio Grande Valley goes," says Linda Fossen, associate vice president for enrollment at the Brownsville campus, "so goes Texas, and so goes the rest of America."
So far, U.S. security policies have had mixed effects on Mexican enrollments. The number of Mexican students at the University of Texas at Brownsville has increased 71.8 percent since September 2001 to 299 in the fall of 2003. This year enrollment is 391, up 124.7 percent since 2001.
But other institutions have seen their cross-border enrollments plummet, especially among students in programs that teach English. Part-time enrollment at the International Language Institute at Texas A&M International University, in Laredo, has dropped by half to under 200 students.
Adrian Sanchez is typical of many Mexican students who attend American colleges, says Jon Amastae, director of the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso The University of Texas at El Paso, popularly known as UTEP, is a public, coeducational university, and it is a member of the University of Texas System. The school is located on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, in El Paso, Texas, and is the largest university in the . The students often live in Mexico because housing and services are cheaper. Some live at home and commute back and forth each day, while others stay with relatives on the American side during the week and cross back into Mexico on the weekends. Many work part or full time at a maquiladora ma·qui·la·do·ra
An assembly plant in Mexico, especially one along the border between the United States and Mexico, to which foreign materials and parts are shipped and from which the finished product is returned to the original market. , one of the hundreds of American-owned factories peppering the Mexican side of the border.
By almost every measure, Texas has more Mexican commuter students than any other border state. Historically, Texas colleges have reached out more to Mexican students, both to bolster their interdependent economies and because they share a common culture.
El Paso El Paso (ĕl pă`sō), city (1990 pop. 515,342), seat of El Paso co., extreme W Tex., on the Rio Grande opposite Juárez, Mex.; inc. 1873. has become a Mecca for such cross-border education. The University of Texas at El Paso proudly advertises that its student body is 71 percent Hispanic. The university figures that its 1,817 Mexican students made up 10 percent of its fall 2003 enrollment, and that 15 percent of all Mexicans studying in the United States go there. What's more, between 60 percent and 75 percent of all Mexican students who attend the university live in Mexico and commute regularly from Ciudad Juarez and its surroundings. Nearby El Paso Community College History
El Paso County Community College District was established in June 1969 when citizens of El Paso County voted to form a junior college district and elected a board of seven trustees to administer the College. enrolls 301 Mexican students.
One of the biggest reasons Texas colleges attract so many Mexican students has been the state's Mexican Citizens With Financial Need-Border County Waiver. Started 13 years ago, the program permits needy Mexican students to pay in-state tuition at eight Texas colleges in counties along the border, including the University of Texas at Brownsville. The program saves Mexicans--including Mr. Sanchez--from paying the much-higher out-of-state tuition normally charged to international students.
California has also reached out to Mexican students in an effort to encourage them to attend its public colleges. In 2001 lawmakers in both states passed similar laws that allow illegal immigrants who attend American public high schools for at least three years and get their diplomas to pay in-state tuition. The students must also promise to apply for legal status if they have not already done so. The programs were designed to help Mexican citizens living in the United States, but they also apply to those living in Mexico who previously attended American public schools. (California's law was ultimately vetoed by former Governor Gray Davis because of the price tag.)
Most colleges in Arizona and New Mexico New Mexico, state in the SW United States. At its northwestern corner are the so-called Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet at right angles; New Mexico is also bordered by Oklahoma (NE), Texas (E, S), and Mexico (S). are located too far from the border to attract many Mexican commuters. The Arizona Board of Regents An independent governing body that oversees a state's public Colleges and Universities.
All 50 states have governing bodies that oversee the administration of public education. has proposed drastically reorganizing the state's college system to combine Northern Arizona University Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public university in Flagstaff, Arizona in the United States.
As of Fall 2007, the university has 21,352 students, 13,989 of these are situated in the main Flagstaff campus<ref name="Enrollment" />. at Yuma and the University of Arizona (body, education) University of Arizona - The University was founded in 1885 as a Land Grant institution with a three-fold mission of teaching, research and public service. South into a new university. That larger institution, Southern Arizona Southern Arizona is a region of the United States. It is the southernmost portion of the 48th state, Arizona. Southern Arizona's boundaries are not well defined, but certainly include all of present-day Cochise County, Pima County, Graham County, and Santa Cruz County. University, could potentially attract more Mexican commuters.
BORDER STUDENTS UNDER WATCH
Back in Brownsville, Adrian looks up from his physics equations at 9:40, when the car halts at the border inspection booth. He and his father hand over their passports, with Adrian's including his F-1 student visa and 1-20 form confirming he is a student at the University of Texas at Brownsville. The officer with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a bureau of the United States Department of Homeland Security, is charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. trade laws. branch of the U.S. Homeland Security Department There were gaps in the U.S. system for detecting and deterring terrorist acts in the homeland. That became clear September 11, 2001. The Department of Homeland Security is the george w. bush administration's plug for those gaps. scans the documents perfunctorily per·func·to·ry
1. Done routinely and with little interest or care: The operator answered the phone with a perfunctory greeting.
2. Acting with indifference; showing little interest or care. and asks a question or two in Spanish.
The Sanchezes would be waved through without fuss if not for the white reporter and photographer--definitely not standard cargo in a Mexican vehicle--riding in the back seat. Eyebrow raised, the patrol officer directs cordial cordial: see liqueur. but pointed questions at the strangers. When they show their American driver's licenses and explain their presence, the man says the car can pass. The whole inspection takes less than two minutes.
After September 11, part of the American strategy for preventing future terrorist attacks was closely watching international students. The Homeland Security Department created the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a networked computer system set up in the United States to track information on non-immigrant international students and scholars attending school in the U.S. , or Sevis, a database that tracks foreign students and scholars in the hope of weeding out potential terrorists. Students must regularly inform their colleges about their studies and travels or risk deportation to their home countries.
Security concerns also led the federal government to revoke the permission that it had given to part-time college students, including many Mexican commuters, to take courses using B visas for nonimmigrant non·im·mi·grant
1. An alien, such as a tourist or a member of a ship's crew, who enters a country for a temporary stay.
2. An alien who returns to his or her own country after a stay abroad. tourists, even though the law technically prohibited part-time study by foreign nationals at American institutions. Full-time students must apply for standard F-1 visas for academic study. Those visas presume that the student will study full time and reside in the United States.
Students and officials at colleges along both the Canadian and Mexican borders panicked at the news, and many commuters either switched to full-time status or dropped out. Hearing their complaints, Congress in 2002 created a new F-3 class of visas for some Canadian and Mexican citizens who commute to study full time or part time in the United States Time in the United States, by law, is divided into nine standard time zones covering the states and its possessions, with most of the United States observing daylight saving time for part of the year. .
The Homeland Security Department went one step further to help Canadian and Mexican students in August 2002 when it granted an exception so that part-time students living near the borders could use F-1 visas. That largely eliminated the need for F-3 visas. The State Department issued no F-3 visas in 2003 and has so far issued only 13 in 2004, all in Tijuana, Mexico. Students continue to stream across the border every day.
SOURED BUT STILL COMING
Luis Sanchez Luis Sanchez or Luis Sánchez can refer to various people:
The tightened security measures have soured many international students on attending American institutions, and Mexican students have been no exception. The few who can afford to attend college in other countries are going to Britain, Australia and other English-speaking countries. The rest are complaining about having to pay a new $100 fee for Sevis, on top of the increased difficulties in getting a visa and entering the United States.
Still, says Mr. Amastae, from the University of Texas at El Paso, "for them, this is the best game in town to go abroad because they are close to home, if not at home."
At El Paso, where Mexican enrollment is up by 8 percent since Sept. 11, 2001, Diana S. Natalicio, the university's president, attributes the rise more to the "tenacity and motivation" of Mexican students to get an education "than their circumstances of crossing the border getting better."
Adrian Sanchez agrees that many Mexicans feel it is more difficult to get a student visa. "They think it's harder so they decide not to even try," he says. Personally, he thinks the visa process is relatively easy because of the guidance that university officials gave him. "I do whatever they tell me to do," says Adrian, who plans to graduate in 2006. He wants to continue his studies afterward, but it's up in the air whether he will do them in Mexico or the United States.
First comes a job. After graduation, Adrian intends to work in the United States for at least a year, as his visa permits. He expects he will have to take a job outside the Rio Grande Valley because there are so few jobs here. Eventually, though, he would like to return to Mexico and "give back" to his city. The American degree will help him get a high-paying job at a maquiladora.
After he finishes his class and lab around 2:30, Adrian will hop two buses to get to his current part-time job at a maquiladora, where he makes PowerPoint slides of safety procedures for the workers. Getting back into Mexico today will not be a problem--the border is practically invisible in that direction. But he and his father will be getting up early again tomorrow. With luck, the line that awaits them will be shorter than it was this morning.
THE INS AND OUTS ins and outs
1. The intricate details of a situation, decision, or process.
2. The windings of a road or path. FOR IMMIGRANT STUDENTS
Twenty-two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Plyler v. Doe Plyler v. Doe, that every child, regardless of , was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a state statute denying funding for education to children who were illegal immigrants. immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. status, is eligible for public primary and secondary education. The Court said that the children of illegal immigrants should not be punished for the acts of their parents. Denying them an education would harm them and the state, the Court said, creating a permanent, uneducated underclass of illegal immigrants.
Fourteen years later, a little noticed provision in an illegal immigration "Illegal alien" and "Illegal aliens" redirect here. For other uses, see Illegal aliens (disambiguation).
Illegal immigration refers to immigration across national borders in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country. reform law created a new battlefront in the immigration wars. Intended to further restrict illegal immigrants' access to public benefits, this provision limits states' authority over residency requirements and in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. The 1996 law prohibits states from providing postsecondary education benefits to illegal immigrants unless all citizens are eligible.
Once the children of illegal immigrants graduate from high school, they become unaccepted adults. And there is no easy path for them to gain legal status, only through marriage or the rare employer sponsorship for those with special skills. In the last few years, state legislators have considered the following arguments:
* Unauthorized immigrant children had no choice in entering the United States illegally.
* The state has already invested in their public education.
* College-qualifying students could make economic and social contributions if allowed to continue their studies.
* Allowing in-state tuition rates, at a considerable discount from that charged out-of-state residents, constitutes a reward for lawbreakers (the parents).
* Students should apply for legal status.
* In-state tuition could result in added costs to taxpayers and limited access for other state residents.
Eight states decided the benefits outweigh the costs: California, Texas, New York Texas is a hamlet in Oswego County, New York, USA, near the southeastern corner of Lake Ontario. It is officially part of the town of Mexico. Geography
Texas lies on Little Salmon Creek, about one-half mile above the mouth of that stream on Lake Ontario, on an east-west , Utah, Illinois, Oklahoma, Washington and Kansas.
Kansas, the last to enact in May 2004, is the first to be sued. The Federation for American Immigration Reform The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization in the United States that advocates for reforms of U.S. immigration policies that would result in significant immigration reduction. , a national organization that opposes immigration, filed suit in July, claiming discrimination against out-of-state U.S. citizens. The Kansas law, similar to the other states, requires that children of illegal immigrants have three years' residence, graduation from a state high school and active effort to attain legal status. U.S. citizens can apply for instate in·state
tr.v. in·stat·ed, in·stat·ing, in·states
To establish in office; install. tuition with one year residency in Kansas, financial resources within the state, and an intent to remain indefinitely.
Bipartisan legislation is pending in Congress to repeal the restriction on state residency requirements for higher education higher education
Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art. and to provide a path for immigrant minors with five years of residence the opportunity to gain legal status.
For more information go to www.ncsl.org/programs/immig/tuition2003.htm
Laws in the eight states that make long-term unauthorized immigrant students eligible for in-state tuition have comparable requirements. Students must have:
* Resided in the state for three to four years.
* Graduated from a high school in the state.
* Been accepted at a public college or university.
* Signed an affidavit stating they will file for legal immigration status.
--Ann Morse, Christine Walton, NCSL
Michael Arnone Michael J. Arnone (born September 10, 1932) is an American Republican Party politician, who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1989 to 2004, where he represented the 12th legislative district. is a reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Reprinted with permission, from the Sept. 3, 2004 issue. Copyright 2004, The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com).