Sunday, October 21, 2018

Where are they from and why are they coming?

The majority of the asylum seekers are from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. They come as individuals or small family groups, crossing over 2000 miles of Mexico to reach the border. Some are pregnant. Many have small children. Some have given birth on the journey. All have left family behind.

What would it take to force someone to leave the home, land, language, family they love? Bringing small children on such a dangerous trip? (Check out Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario)

Here are some facts: 

El Salvador
Hundreds of gangs (Barrio 18, MS-13)
Armed robberies of nightclubs, bars, restaurants, homes
Extortion and rape
Virtually all parts of the country
Frequent public protests and strikes
Lower on drug smuggling

Under US travel advisory since 2012
One of highest murder rates in WORLD—US citizens murdered as well as Hondurans
Highway assaults, carjackings, extortion, kidnapping—public transportation target of gangs
7000-10,000 gang members (18th St and MS-13)
Drug trafficking
Lots of civil unrest, land disputes in countryside

Crime throughout the country, poor police control, lack of public order
Motorcycle crimes—driver and passenger, passenger steals, shoots, stabs, etc
1 of the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world
Endemic poverty, lots of guns, legacy of social violence
Gangs extort and kidnap, both businesses and individuals
Drug trafficking
Missing persons cases increasing, including US citizens
Move from rural to urban areas has made both more dangerous

Data taken from Overseas Security Advisory Council, Dept of State, USA

So if your life is at stake, do you stay? Or do you desperately try for the tiniest of chances that you can find a better life elsewhere? Immigrants--generally choose to come. Refugees are fleeing....from, not to is their focus.

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