PUENTES Program: An Institutional Response Claiming for Bridges in a Time of Trumpeting Walls

  • Santiago Castiello-GutiérrezEmail author
  • Mónica Irene Camacho Lizárraga


Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the government openly anti-immigrant rhetoric threatening to deport unauthorized immigrants (including students with DACA protection), several actors in Mexico organized to launch the PUENTES program to facilitate enrollment of Mexican students living in the U.S. at a Mexican HEI to finish their degrees. In this chapter we analyze, from a policy perspective, how a country can prepare to serve their once migrant citizens, now returning students, who need to be re-enrolled into the higher education system and therefore into the society. Key findings suggest that the program has been successful in the following ways: (1) It has provided visibility to the issue of forced migration back to Mexico; (2) It helped to expedite changes in legislation that now make it easier for anyone with partial studies outside Mexico to continue with their education in an HEI in the country; and (3) It provided an alternative, not only to students who faced deportation but also to those who willingly saw an opportunity to continue with their studies at an institution in their place of birth.


Higher education Immigrant and migrant education Student mobility Returned migration Educational policy 


  1. ANUIES. (2017). Programa universitario emergente nacional para la terminación de estudios superiores [National emerging university program for the culmination of tertiary studies]. Retrieved from
  2. Baker, B. (2017). Estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population residing in the United States: January 2014. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved from
  3. Bell, L., & Stevenson, H. (2006). Education policy: Process, themes and impact. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bender, S. W., & Arrocha, W. F. (2017). Compassionate migration and regional policy in the Americas. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blakemore, K. (2003). Social policy: An introduction. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Department of Homeland Security. (2017). Talking points—DACA rescission. Memorandum draft. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved from[8].pdf.
  7. Despagne, C., & Jacobo, M. (2016). Desafíos actuales de la escuela monolítica mexicana: el caso de los alumnos migrantes transnacionales [Current challenges of the Mexican monolithic school: The case of transnational migrant students]. Sinéctica, 47(2), 1–17.Google Scholar
  8. Ergin, H., de Wit, H., & Leask, B. (2019). Forced internationalization of higher education: An emerging phenomenon. International Higher Education, 97, 9–10. Scholar
  9. Ganster, P., & Lorey, D. E. (2005). Borders and border politics in a globalizing world. Lanham, MD: SR Books.Google Scholar
  10. Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  11. González-Barrera, A., Lopez, M., & Rohal, M. (2015). More Mexicans leaving than coming to the U.S. Washington, DC: Pew research center. Retrieved from
  12. Haddad, W. D. (1995). Education policy-planning process: An applied framework. UNESCO: UNESCO: International Institute for Educational Planning.Google Scholar
  13. Harman, G. (1984). Conceptual and theoretical issues. In J. R. Hough (Ed.), Educational policy: An international survey. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  14. INEGI. (2014). National survey of demographic dynamics. Retrieved from
  15. Jacobo, M. (2017). De regreso a “casa” y sin apostilla: estudiantes mexicoamericanos en México [Back “home” and without apostille: Mexican-American students in Mexico]. Sinéctica, 48, 1–18.Google Scholar
  16. Jiménez, G. (2017, July 2). Buscarán escuela 15 mil rechazados por la UANL. Milenio. Monterrey, Mexico. Retrieved from
  17. Kogan, M., & Bowden, K. (1975). Educational policy-making: A study of interest groups and Parliament. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  18. Maldonado-Maldonado, A., & Mejía-Pérez G. (2018). Higher education systems and institutions, Mexico. In P. N. Teixeira & J. C. Shin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of international higher education systems and institutions. The Netherlands: Springer. Retrieved from Scholar
  19. Pérez-Vega, I. (2017, July 24). Admite la UdeG a 73% de los aspirantes a bachillerato; a licenciatura ingresó 36.8%. UDGTV. Guadalajara, México. Retrieved from
  20. Pew Research Center. (2017). Top countries of origin for DACA recipients. Retrieved from
  21. Reichheld, F. F. (2003). The one number you need to grow. Harvard Business Review, 81(12), 46–54.Google Scholar
  22. SEP, Secretaría de Educación Pública. (2017a). Principales cifras del sistema educativo nacional [Data on the national Education System, Mexico’s National Ministry of Education]. Retrieved from
  23. SEP, Secretaría de Educación Pública. (2017b). Acuerdo 286 [Agreement 286]. Retrieved from
  24. Taylor, S., Rizvi, F., Lingard, B., & Henry, M. (1997). Educational policy and the politics of change. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. U.S. Census Bureau. (2017). Facts for features: Hispanic heritage month 2017. Retrieved from
  26. Zárate, Y. (2018, March 22). Recibe UNAM a 9 mil 817 jóvenes en licenciatura [UNAM accepts 9,817 undergraduate students]. El Universal. Mexico City. Retrieved from
  27. Zúñiga, V. & Hamann, E. (2006). Going home? Schooling in Mexico of transnational children. Faculty Publications, Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, paper 45.Google Scholar
  28. Zúñiga, V., Hamann, E., & Sánchez, J. (2008). Alumnos transnacionales, escuelas mexicanas frente a la globalización [Transnational students, Mexican schools facing globalization]. México: SEP.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Santiago Castiello-Gutiérrez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mónica Irene Camacho Lizárraga
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)Mexico CityMexico

Personalised recommendations