PUENTES Program: An Institutional Response Claiming for Bridges in a Time of Trumpeting Walls
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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.
KeywordsHigher education Immigrant and migrant education Student mobility Returned migration Educational policy
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