Monday, February 2, 2015

Tax Investment = ZERO: Mexican children cross Texas border to attend school


Meddling BBC launches frugile attempt to lay a guilt trip on struggling American taxpayers, our border fence, and unwillingness not to put our own families last.

Febe Ara Febe Ara crosses the border every day to study in the US

Febe Ara lives in one country but goes to school in another.
This 16-year-old girl begins her day in Ciudad Juarez, in northern Mexico, before crossing one of the most active international borders in order to study in El Paso, Texas.
"I wake up about five in the morning, and I cross the bridge at about half past six," she tells the BBC shortly before her school day starts at the Lydia Patterson Institute, or La Lydia as it is more commonly known.
For her, changing countries every day has become a routine. "We've gotten used to crossing the bridge, but when it's cold - wow! - it's worse because it's freezing and we have to get up early," she says.
It is one of those days today. Febe is sitting next to her brothers, Emanuel and Angel, at a very long table where her classmates are rushing to finish their English vocabulary homework, chatting loudly in Spanish and eating eggs and toast for breakfast.
A few minutes earlier, Febe had arrived at school with about 15 of her friends. They had all met at the border in Juarez, paid the four Mexican pesos (about 18 pence) required to cross each time, stood in a long line, shown their documents to the immigration officers and walked across the international bridge.
Like Febe, many of La Lydia's students have Mexican passports with a US student visa.
And like Febe, thousands of people every day cross the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
According to US officials, in 2011 around 4.2 million pedestrians used the three bridges that link the two cities. El Paso is considered to be the second-busiest port of entry into the country by passenger volume. Many cross the border to work on the other side, buy groceries or go to school, like Febe and her brothers.
Schoolchildren Mexican children receive a commuter student visa to study in the US
"El Paso and Ciudad Juarez form the largest true bi-national community in the world, or at least any place we have been able to determine," says El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke.
"There are three million people sharing the same water source, the same airshed, the same mountains, the same valley in which we live," he tells the BBC.
But just behind O'Rourke stands perhaps the most powerful sign that not everyone thinks the two communities are so symbiotic. There is a big wall topped with barbed wire, the wall that divides the US and Mexico and highlights the very different stories that can be found on either side of the border.
Juarez came to be known a few years ago as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. El Paso has been described as the safest big city in America.
In 2010 there were five murders in El Paso. In Juarez there were 3,075.
This contrast is still evident for those who cross the border on a daily basis, like Febe Ara and her school friends.
"It's safer here than over there in Juarez," she says. "There are many problems over there and many deaths, but not here. There are more policemen patrolling the streets."
In the last few months, border security has become a particularly hot topic in the US, after thousands of unaccompanied minors arrived at the south-western border near McAllen, Texas.
US President Barack Obama announced in November he was going to increase resources in order to prevent another surge in illegal immigrants and make the border more secure. And at a recent meeting with Mexican President Pena Nieto at the White House, Mr Obama added he would be "much more aggressive at the border in ensuring that people come through the system legally".
Meanwhile, Mr O'Rourke says the border is safer than at any time in the country's history and adds that the administration has doubled the number of border patrol agents, from 10,000 to 20,000.
Nevertheless, he believes that prioritising militarisation of the border partially diverts attention away from the commercial and cultural ties between the two cities.
Fence with barbed wireMillions cross the border between El Paso and Juraez every year, but there are obstacles
At school, students and teachers also think the increase in security has affected them, especially when it comes to waiting in line at the bridge.
"There weren't any problems before," says Cristina Woo, the school's assistant principal, who has been working here for 43 years and says 80% of students live in Juarez.
"I could come and go in five or 10 minutes without having to get in line. But unfortunately everything changes with time."
Febe Ara also says lines sometimes get so long that she doesn't get to school on time. But she still crosses the border every day because she says studying in El Paso is "padre" (cool in Mexican Spanish).
"There are more opportunities here than over there," she stresses.
And just before the bell rings at 8:20 in the morning to signal the beginning of classes, she explains her dream.
Even though she lives in Mexico, she wants to keep studying in the US.


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