Every day, about 850 students from Puerto Palomas, make the hour-long journey to attend school in New Mexico.
With his passport in tow, 12-year-old Eulises is one of them.
The American-born student lives with his family in Puerto Palomas and makes the trek for the educational opportunity.
Eulises is one focus on the upcoming episode on HBO’s VICE series. The series covers an array of topics including the heated immigration debate. The episode “Separated by Birth” airs at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 22. It repeats throughout the weekend until Thursday, June 28, on HBO.
In the episode, VICE correspondent Krishna Andavolu, travels to the New Mexico/Mexico border where he interviews American-born children who live in Mexico but go to public school in the U.S .because their parents are not citizens.
Andavolu spent about four days in Puerto Palomas and Deming interviewing students and parents, as well as Deming Public Schools Superintendent Arsenio Romero.
Romero tells Anadvolu that he takes heat every legislative session for allowing the U.S. born students to get an education.
“I have to go to Santa Fe quite often to talk to state legislators about why we should continue to do this,” he says of the practice. “These students are going to end up part of our community and deserve the education.”
Andavolu was surprised to see U.S. born-children crossing the border to attend school in another country when he came to New Mexico for the story.
“What’s intriguing is that it’s been done since for decades,” he says. “It’s not new and as someone coming from New York, it’s surprising to see. These are people who grew up around the border their whole lives and crossing the border isn’t a massive thing. For many of the people on the border, this is the way life works. All of the people that we talked to were trying to move to the area to give their kids a leg up.”
Andavolu says the episode delves into the many facets of the national immigration debate.
He also follows an ICE unit during a deportation raid outside of Atlanta and interviews both the ICE unit and the family they raided, giving an intimate look at how immigration policies are playing out on the ground.
Andavolu also interviews Nora Sandigo, a woman from Florida, who is the legal guardian for over 1,000 children whose parents fear deportation.
“Within the debate, these kids aren’t really talked about,” he says. “Many of these kids are American kids. They are going to be here the rest of their lives and somehow their lives have been affected. The question we are asking is if these American children are part of the future of our country, what effect will this time in our country have on their lives? It’s a tough situation and an eye- opening reporting experience for me.”