The Associated Press
September 24, 2008
For more than a decade, as the immigration debate has swelled on both sides of the border, the Mexican government has been quietly providing money, materials and even teachers to American schools, colleges and nonprofit organizations.
The programs aren’t substitutes for U.S. curricula, but educators familiar with them say they provide a lifeline for adult students with little formal education by helping them become literate in Spanish â€” and by extension, English.
Yet many educators are wary of even talking about the programs, fearing they might stoke an anti-immigrant backlash.
The Mexican government, which spends more than $1 million annually on the programs, has many reasons to provide the aid to the immigrants and their children. The programs allow it to give back to the growing number of Mexicans living legally and illegally in the U.S. Behind oil, remittances from these individuals are the second-largest source of foreign income for the Mexican economy â€” almost $24 billion last year.