Foreign aid: Mexico to fund scholarships for students in US

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Consulate hands over funds to El Paso nonprofit working with four American colleges and universities

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The government of Mexico is donating $20,000 to an El Paso nonprofit that will use that money for scholarships.

This type of foreign support is not unusual in major U.S. cities with a large Mexican and Mexican-American population, officials said Thursday at a check presentation.

“This is the result of community meetings that we held at the beginning of the year in which the community asked us to promote and support education,” said Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de Leon, Mexico’s consul general in El Paso.

Mexico since the mid-2000s has been assisting immigrant communities in the United States through a mechanism known as the Institute for Mexicans Abroad. The Institute reports that in 2019 it disbursed $269,600 in scholarships that benefited 2,293 students of Mexican origin in the United States.

The Camino Real Rotary Club received Thursday’s $20,000 and is working with three universities and one community college in the region to detemine which students are eligible for the scholarships, said club President Arturo Barrio. The aid is intended for Mexican immigrants and the children of immigrants.

“One of the main areas of focus of the Rotaries is education. This is something that we really value and we’re very interested in collaborating with all these academic institutions,” Barrio said.

The Camino Real is unique among Rotary clubs in that it acts as a “bridge” between organizations in Mexico and the United States. It serves a highly mobile population of people with family and other ties on both sides of the border.

The club has sponsored binational health projects and funds GED classes in an El Paso Catholic church located a few blocks from the Mexican border, Barrio said.

Students of the University of Texas at El Paso, New Mexico State University, Western New Mexico University and El Paso Community College are eligible for the scholarships.

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