More Mexican students fleeing violence, enrolling on Roma schools

As the violence in Ciudad Mier and Miguel Aleman continues, each day more Mexican nationals are leaving their homes in Mexico and settling in Roma and its surrounding communities.

The exact number is difficult to measure. But city leaders and schools said it has become very evident to them.

"Since February, the city has opened up 1500 new water connections," Roma Police Captain Francisco Garcia said.

He added most of the new water lines are for Mexican families who decided to cross the international bridge for good, and stay in Roma.

It has been such a large exodus, that the Roma Independent School District said they have seen and unusual spike in the number of new enrollments.

According the latest enrollment figures from October, this school year 295 new students enrolled in the districts nine schools, and most of them are recent immigrants from Mexico.

That number is more than five times the number of students from the year before. District spokesperson Ricardo Perez said in the past, on average the district sees anywhere form 25-75 new enrollments each year.

"We have to attribute that to the violence and the difficulties that they are encountering in Mexico," he said.

Perez added that historically, Roma ISD has also had large numbers of students who could cross the international bridge to come to school in Roma from neighboring cities Miguel Aleman and Ciudad Mier.

But that has also been changing over the past few months, "That number has decreased quite a bit because most students are staying within their residencies here in Roma."

For now, the district said they can handle this large increase.

But they warned that if the violence continues the way it has been this year, they can expect a similar jump in enrollments the following school year. And that would mean having to stretch their resources.

Meanwhile, Captain Garcia said he does not expect the violence to die down anytime soon.

He said since the death of Gulf cartel leader Tony Tormenta on November 5, the violence has gotten worse across the border.

Before his death, Captain Garcia said they received one or two reports of gunfights across the border.

After the fact, he admitted that number has jumped to three to four reports per week.