U.S.-Mexico Foundation

US Dreamers reconnect with Mexico through USMF sponsored exchange program

Fourteen Dreamers from the California State University-Long Beach’s (CSULB) California-Mexico Center visited Mexico between March 26th and April 5th, 2015, as part of a USMF sponsored program designed to reintroduce young Dreamers in the United States to their country of origin and to create bridges of understanding and cooperation between the two countries.  The students’ 11 day stay in Mexico included visits to historical sites in Mexico City and the state of Morelos, an intensive Spanish immersion course as well as lectures and presentations on topics of importance to the US-Mexico relationship and the opportunity for some of the students to reunite with their families in Mexico.

This first-of-its-kind exchange program provides opportunities for Dreamers in the United States to reconnect and reengage in a meaningful way to their country of origin, Mexico.  The coursework, field visits and activities of the visit represent a unique academic and life experience for the visiting Dreamers, increasing their awareness of important binational issues and fostering an identity that transcends the border, by being “de aqui y de alla.” The experience can be quite emotional, particularly reconnecting with family in Mexico, as one visiting Dreamer put it: “for me the best part was reconnecting with my grandpa who I had not seen since I moved back to the US, 15 years ago. That, and finding out I have a sister I never knew about that, and meeting her for the first time in my life. The emotional aspect is really there, it is really touching.”
 

Visiting Dreamers met with returned Dreamers in Mexico

The visiting Dreamers in Tlatelolco

 

As part of the exchange program, the CSULB Dreamers also attended the International Seminar on Dreamers and young US citizens exiled in Mexico held on March 27th, 2015, at the “Museo Nacional de las Culturas” in Mexico City and sponsored by the USMF.  The seminar brought together activists and academics from both sides of the border to discuss the challenges, including identity issues and educational and workforce reinsertion, facing young returnees from the United States.  During the seminar the CSULB Dreamers had the opportunity to meet and share experiences with other Dreamers who have returned to Mexico due to deportation or personal choice, including members of Dream in Mexico, a non-profit launched with USMF seed funding to support returning Dreamers, and members of the Los Otros Dreamers Collective, whose stories of return are featured in the book “Los Otros Dreamers” published last year with USMF funds.

USMF CEO Rebeca Vargas with visiting Dreamers during the International Seminar on returned migrants

Dreamers and other guests listening to the panelist during the Seminar

The USMF is proud to support programs that strengthen understanding and cooperation between our two countries, such as the Dreamer exchange program, and looks forward to expanding these efforts.  As Rebeca Vargas, President and CEO of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation stated when welcoming the CSULB Dreamers to the seminar on March 27th; “today we welcome 14 Dreamers to Mexico, hoping that their visit allows them to discover and love this country, Mexico, which is theirs as well. Today we have 14, but we want to make this bigger, so that in the future we might have hundreds of Dreamers travelling here and reconnecting with Mexico, their country of origin because these young Dreamers can become a bridge of understanding and cooperation that brings our two countries closer together.”

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