Alexandra, a 13-year-old with long hair and a wry smile, misses her school in Sacramento. Now that she lives in Tijuana, Mexico, her mother is stricter, always worried about her safety, and won’t let her go to the movies alone. She hates wearing a uniform and is struggling in school.
“Sometimes you just think about it and you’re like what am I doing here?” she said. “I was born over there and so why am I here?”
Alexandra was among a group of young Mexican-American teenagers gathered in the courtyard of Sindicato Alba Roja secondary school in Tijuana in June. They are the children of families that represent the border city’s multinational identity. Many of them were born in the United States and are U.S. citizens, but their parents are not, and their lives are shaped by conflicting realities of family obligation and the opportunities of dual citizenship.