El Salvador

Salvador Melendez / AP

COMMENTARY

As a U.S. correspondent who covers Latin America and the Caribbean from South Florida, I chafe watching my country acquire traits of the developing nations I write about. Obscene wealth disparities. Zero-sum tribal politics. Mass incarceration.

And now, extremist attacks on abortion rights.

In March 1980, Patricia Morales Tijerino and her sister had just left a wedding in a little chapel in El Salvador's capital and were on their way to the reception.

"And then I spotted him," Morales Tijerino recalls. "He was in his white cassock."

Óscar Arnulfo Romero, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Salvador, was standing alone in a garden outside the church.

Cristina Reyes Clark winds her way through the bustling market in El Salvador's capital city, San Salvador, stopping to touch and smell fruits and vegetables along the way. Young, tattooed and dressed in shorts, she stands out in the traditional farmers market full of conservative abuelas (grandmothers) with their heaping baskets.

But there is at least one thing these women have in common: their love of ancestral food.

Luis Soto / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Here’s the logic behind the Trump Administration’s wrongheaded policy of separating undocumented migrant parents from their children when they’re detained: It’s only doing what law enforcement does any time it arrests suspects – who, after all, don’t get to take their kids to jail with them.

But the logic snaps when the Trumpistas also insist separating families this way is a big deterrent to illegal immigration. Just like it deters all crime, right?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is stirring panic in immigrant communities by moving to limit who can get asylum in the United States. Perhaps no one is more alarmed than one Salvadoran woman living in the Carolinas.

She is known only by her initials in immigration court papers, so her lawyers call her Ms. A.B. She fled to the U.S. four years ago, after enduring more than a decade of domestic abuse in her home country, and requested asylum here.

Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero, who was gunned down by a right-wing death squad in 1980 at the start of the country's civil war, will be canonized as a Roman Catholic saint, the Vatican said in a statement Wednesday.

Romero, who had denounced a crackdown on leftist opponents of the country's military government, was killed while celebrating Mass in March 1980. He will be made a saint along with Pope Paul VI, whose canonization was announced last week.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

One day after President Trump referred to African nations as "shithole countries," adding that the U.S. should want immigrants from countries such as Norway rather than from Haiti or El Salvador, the countries that came in for the president's criticism are offering some responses of their own.

Updated at 7:37 p.m. ET

President Trump is denying reports, from NPR and other news outlets, that in a Thursday meeting at the White House he disparaged African nations as "shithole countries" and questioned why the United States would admit immigrants from them and other nations, like Haiti.

Trump told lawmakers that the U.S. should instead seek out more immigrants from countries like Norway.

Scott: Trump Immigration Remarks ‘Absolutely Wrong’

Jan 12, 2018
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday blasted President Donald Trump for reportedly disparaging Haiti, El Salvador and Africa during a bipartisan White House meeting about immigration reform.

According to several news outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Trump reportedly questioned why the United States should accept immigrants from “s---hole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa.

Bryan Cereijo for The Miami Herald

Many immigrants from El Salvador are in a state of shock. On Monday, the Trump Administration announced that it will soon be ending a humanitarian program that has allowed nearly 200,000 of them to live and work in the U.S. since 2001, after two earthquakes devastated their country. Now they worry for their future.

But the potential pain is likely to prove just as acute in El Salvador. That's because nearly all these Salvadoran immigrants work — and a huge share of them regularly send a portion of their earnings to family in El Salvador.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The Trump administration says it will end the temporary protected status that has allowed some 200,000 natives of El Salvador to live in the U.S. without fear of deportation for nearly 17 years, the Department of Homeland Security says.

In announcing the designation's end, DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen also said she's extending it for another 18 months, to Sept. 9, 2019 — a delay that her agency says is to ensure "an orderly transition."

R
José Cabezas/Reuters

Millions of Salvadorans, including many in the country's poorest neighborhoods, have cellphones. 

But when those impoverished Salvadorans are victims of abuse at the hands of police, few dare to use their mobile devices to record the misconduct. 

Why not?

Salvadoran American youth advocate Susan Cruz asked young residents of the heavily policed San Salvador suburb of Soyapango if they would use their phones to document police wrongdoing. 

Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement

Miami-Dade County’s population is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan. And its police force reflects that.

In 2012, the State Department decided to put that diversity to use beyond our borders. State recruited Miami-Dade police to help train and build law enforcement in Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica and even Egypt. Federal officials say it worked out so well that this week they re-upped the Miami-Dade force for another five years.

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