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Throughout the day and into the evening they come. Residents of Mexico cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, into El Paso, Texas, sometimes submitting to a checkpoint border-crossing of up to 20 minutes or longer. But once they hit U.S. soil, many of them head in the direction of the Sunland Park Center in New Mexico.
"If you came by and looked through our parking lot, you would see how popular our programs are for students from Mexico," said Dr. J.B. Carrica, the director of Sunland, which specializes in vocational, technical and developmental education.
"Car after car has a license plate on it from Mexico in general and Juarez in particular," he continued. "And some of the cars are quite nice, which means that we are getting students here from all economic classes in Mexico."
It's easy to understand why Mexican residents go through all' that to attend the Sunland center. Located in the extreme southeast corner of New Mexico, Sunland is one of the branch campuses of the Dona Ana Branch Community College, itself part of the New Mexico State University System. The campus is nestled less than 15 miles from the well-traveled U.S.-Mexico border at El Paso.
"Geographically, this is a very …