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November 26th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Mexicans feeling persecuted flee U.S.

By Rafael Romo, Senior Latin American Affairs Editor

Cananea, Mexico (CNN) - In a remote town in northern Mexico, a 10-year-old-boy is struggling with his homework. His name is Oscar Castellanos, and the fifth-grader is getting extra help from his father because he's having trouble adjusting to his new school.

The student enrolled at Leona Vicario Elementary in the town of Cananea is technically a foreigner in his father's land. Oscar was born in Arizona and is a U.S. citizen. He recites the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance by memory without hesitation. His English accent is that of a boy raised in the American Southwest.

Oscar's family moved back to Mexico after the state of Arizona approved some of the toughest immigration laws in the United States. Now they live in Cananea, a mining town of 30,000, about 35 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

When asked whether it's been difficult to adjust to life in Mexico, his answer is "kind of." Pressed to elaborate, he adds that one of his main challenges is having "to speak another language."

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Oscar says he misses the abundance of books available to him in his American schools. In Mexico, textbooks are free, but finding additional reading material is often a challenge, especially in a provincial town that's a 23-hour drive from Mexico City.

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Filed under: How we live • Immigration • Latino in America • Where we live