One Big Thing: El Salvador and It’s Asylum Seekers
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What you need to know:
- A new report from Human Rights Watch documents the perils of Salvadorans who are returned home from the United States.
- El Salvador faces a crisis. Salvadorans are fleeing their country to escape ongoing violence: gang warfare, one of the highest murder rates in the world, sexual violence, and disappearance.
- HRW’s report shows that in recent years, Salvadoran annual asylum applicants to the U.S. grew by nearly 1,000 percent, from about 5,600 to over 60,000 per year.
- While the report highlights the need for U.S. immigration and asylum reform; it also shines a light on the El Salvadoran government’s complicity in the crisis. The Salvadoran government needs to reform its justice sector and invest in rule of law.
Why does this matter?
- Immigration to the United States is obviously a heated topic. El Salvador and several other Central American countries face ongoing violence which is pushing people out of their homes and sending them north to the United States. People are fleeing to the U.S. because of opportunities for a better life, not so different from immigrants who have been coming here for centuries to escape turbulent homelands in search of the American dream.
- Pragmatic and humane U.S. immigration policy reforms are necessary to deal with this crisis. El Salvador does not have the resources to safely accommodate returnees and the last thing the U.S. wants is to send people back to violent and possibly deadly situations.
- HRW’s reports is compounded by the global refugee crisis. There are more refugees and asylum seekers today than at any other moment since World War II. Crises in the Northern Triangle of Central America, wars in Afghanistan & Syria, the forced removal of the Rohinga from Burma to Bangladesh, a near total collapse of Venezuela, and ongoing conflicts in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo - to name just some of the global crises, are all contributing to the refugee emergency.
What can you do?
- Learn more about the situation from Human Rights Watch’s Deported to Danger Report
- Read about pragmatic immigration policy recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center.
- Understand the situation in the Northern Triangle from Council on Foreign Relations.
Image: John Moore/Getty Images
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