Educational and migration aspirations among children of Mexican migrant returnees in a border context

Eunice D. Vargas-Valle, Jennifer E. Glick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


There has been a significant increase in migrant children from the USA living in Mexico in the last two decades. This article analyses the association between transnational schooling and the education and migration aspirations (the country one wishes to live or work in) of lower secondary students in Tijuana, a border city with very high return migration. This article also addresses how education and migration aspirations are connected and the extent to which these aspirations are mediated by US-specific capital (US citizenship, having family members in the USA, English proficiency, and cultural identification with the USA). The analyses draw from the 2017 School Integration and Migration Survey, conducted among students in 86 lower secondary schools, and 38 follow-up semi-structured interviews with transnational students. The results indicate that students with US school experience were more likely to aspire to study a two-year college or technical degree than nontransnational students. Transnational schooling was also directly associated with aspiring to migrate or engage in cross-border employment. Interviews elucidate the ways tertiary education plans were subordinate to intentions to work in the USA as funding their education became part of transnational students' life projects. US schools were essential conduits through which education values, English skills, and national identities became ingrained in Mexican migrant children. Students' migratory aspirations were nurtured by their experience in US schools and transnational social networks, in addition to their US citizenship. The public policy implications of these findings are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-701
Number of pages25
JournalMigration Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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