(The Guardian chose to quote CLUE in a long piece about how those who have been deported back to El Salvador readjust to new circumstances in their country of origin.)
Poverty and gang violence are driving an exodus, regardless of US asylum reforms
Gang violence fuels insecurity and particularly affects young people. Photograph: Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images
Outside the migrants’ attention centre in San Salvador, 19-year-old Berenice Cruz’s eyes dart around nervously before she whispers that she had fled El Salvador “because of the crime”. Nearly all her family in the east of the country belong to a gang, she says, but she refuses to get involved. The gang threatened to kill her, so she attempted the perilous journey to Reno, Nevada, in the US, where an aunt lives and where sanctuary lies. She failed.
“If I go back to where I live, they’ll kill me,” she says, shortly after arriving back in her home country from a detention centre in McAllen, Texas, where she was held after crossing the border. She is one of 11,748 Salvadorans deported from the US and Mexico since the start of 2018.
Migrants have been under relentless attack since Donald Trump began his run for office. The US authorities’ policy of separating children from their families in the name of a “zero tolerance” immigration strategy sparked outrage last week from Washington DC to San Salvador, and Trump was eventually forced to back down with an executive order which critics say still does not go far enough. But his policy continues to ignore the difficult realities of thousands of migrants fleeing violence and misery in the so-called Northern Triangle, the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras plagued by corruption, gang crime and impunity.