News Release

200,000 Salvadorans

JOSEPH NEVINS, jonevins at vassar.edu, @jonevins1
Nevins is professor of geography at Vassar College. His books include Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid (City Lights Books).

He said today: “The Trump Administration’s decision to end Temporary Protected Status for approximately 200,000 Salvadorans residing in the United States is abhorrent. In addition to being part and parcel of its war on immigrants (particularly low-income ones), it is a denial of U.S. responsibility for much of what drives Salvadorans to flee their homeland and makes life there unviable. The roots of El Salvador’s high murder rate, for example — it is one of the most dangerous countries in the world — lie in U.S. support for its right-wing government and the grossly unjust political-economic order it defended during the 1980s. During that decade, Washington helped fuel the country’s civil war by providing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, and various forms of assistance to its brutal military.

“In the 1990s, the United States, allying itself with the country’s conservative elites, helped to impose a neoliberal ‘free trade’ agreement on El Salvador, an accord that has helped to fuel out-migration due to its dislocating impacts. Finally, there is the matter of climate change, with the United States as the world’s biggest historical contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Along with Honduras and Guatemala, El Salvador is one of the detrimentally impacted countries in the world by a warming and increasingly unstable climate. From growing incidents of ‘natural’ disasters to an outbreak of coffee rust, which has devastated the region’s coffee sector, climate change-related environmental degradation has also helped to push Salvadorans to migrate. For such reason and more, the U.S. government has an ethical obligation to allow Salvadorans to migrate and reside in the United States.”