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Thousands of ‘Transborder’ Students Commute to American Colleges From Mexico Every Day

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People wait to board a bus for Mexico beside the border wall at the U.S.–Mexico border checkpoint in Calexico, California, on October 25th, 2018.

This story was produced by the Hechinger Report.

The weight of her backpack is what comes to mind when Andrea Morín thinks about crossing the United States–Mexico border between Tijuana and San Diego every weekday to attend San Diego State University.

“We have to struggle with the most basic things sometimes,” the 22-year-old theater major says. “My backpack is super heavy ’cause I have to be here the entire day. So I have to be carrying snacks, food, extra clothes.”

Vannessa Falcón, a Ph.D. candidate in education in a joint program between San Diego State and Claremont Graduate University, was 12 when she started crossing the San Ysidro port of entry, one of the world’s busiest, to go to middle school. For her, it’s become part of her identity—and the subject of her dissertation.

“The reasons why I live a transborder life,” says Falcón, are “deeply rooted in who I am.”

Morín and Falcón are two among thousands of students at colleges and universities in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas who cross the southern border for their educations.

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