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Migrant kids go to school as they wait

The school year has started for children here in the United States. Now in a happy turn of events, volunteers created a pop-up school on the sidewalk in Matamoros, Mexico. The idea is to provide migrant kids with some of the stability they would typically have.

Matamoros is a border town where tens of thousands of migrant families camp out and wait for the U.S. immigration court to hear their case. Adult migrants and volunteer teachers from the U.S. are holding classes where about 50 children practice their letters, learn their numbers as well as do arts and crafts (they hang these projects from nearby trees).

A safe spot in a dangerous place

The idea of doing a pop-up school within the tent community also serves another purpose. Groups at the border have found that they need to look out for each other because of the dangers surrounding them. Adults will sleep in shifts as they watch out for each other’s families. Despite months-long waits, parents are also not sending their children to local schools because crime is common in places like Matamoros, and there are even reports of kidnappings. Other parents also claim that local schools make it difficult for them to register their children.

Just the beginning

The pop-up school’s popularity has grown, leading its teachers to offer storytime classes on Saturday nights. Ideally, the sidewalk school is a short-term idea that will not grow too big because migrants will get their cases heard soon, and the courts will work through the backlog. But anything that provides comfort to children and parents can make a difference today or over the long term is a good thing.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber