{"code":"24297","sect":"El Salvador","sect_slug":"el-salvador","hits":"1322","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202004\/el_salvador\/24297","link_edit":"","name":"When Safety Is Danger","slug":"when-safety-is-danger","info":"","mtag":"Migration","noun":{"html":"\u003Cspan class='tint-text--dark' data_href='\/user\/profile\/jwashington'\u003E John Washington\u003C\/span\u003E","data":{"john-washington":{"sort":"jwashington","slug":"john-washington","path":"john_washington","name":"John Washington","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"1322","pict":{"cms-image-000033458-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"33458","name":"cms-image-000033458.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000033458.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000033458.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000033458-jpg","text":"<p>A woman was murdered in Casa de Piedra, in the municipality of Panchimalco, outside of San Salvador. On the night of April 7, authorities registered two other murders in city. Photo from El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EA woman was murdered in Casa de Piedra, in the municipality of Panchimalco, outside of San Salvador. On the night of April 7, authorities registered two other murders in city. Photo from El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000033459-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"33459","name":"cms-image-000033459.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000033459.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000033459.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000033459-jpg","text":"<p>A man killed near the entrance to the community of La Fortaleza, in San Salvador. He was killed on the afternoon of April 15, 2020 in an area that's become a border between the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs. Photo from El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EA man killed near the entrance to the community of La Fortaleza, in San Salvador. He was killed on the afternoon of April 15, 2020 in an area that's become a border between the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs. Photo from El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":33459,"date":{"live":"2020\/04\/16"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2020","data_post_dateLive_MM":"04","data_post_dateLive_DD":"16","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThere is no better argument for the need of asylum than, when you are not granted it, you are killed. That sort of post-mortem evidence, however, is evidence that comes too late. The point of asylum protections is that you shouldn\u2019t need to prove your fears by seeing them realized. And yet it\u2019s exactly what happened to at least 138 Salvadorans who, since 2013, applied for asylum from the United States, were denied, deported, and then killed, according to \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.hrw.org\/report\/2020\/02\/05\/deported-danger\/united-states-deportation-policies-expose-salvadorans-death-and\"\u003Ea recent Human Rights Watch report\u003C\/a\u003E. HRW researchers also counted another 70 instances of people who were subjected to sexual violence, torture, or were disappeared upon their asylum denial and deportation.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EU.S. policy has long prioritized its own politics above the needs, or even the lives, of Central Americans; how the United States is willing to ignore the reality on the ground in its insistence on expelling migrants; how the United States is willing to turn a blind eye toward the ongoing cases of corruption, impunity, and turmoil in Central American governments. The relationship in regards to migration is particularly complex, as decades of US policies have stoked the very situation that spark the need for flight and protection in the first place. Today, even during a deadly pandemic, while the United States clamps down its borders and shutters its refugee and asylum programs, deportations continue. The United States is thus not only refusing to accept or protect migrants, it is deporting a virus, undermining efforts at slowing the spread and putting Central Americans at extreme risk.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Human Rights Watch report underscores the urgent need for asylum protections that I interrogate in my forthcoming book,\u00a0\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.versobooks.com\/books\/3171-the-dispossessed\"\u003EThe Dispossessed\u003C\/a\u003E, which looks at the ancient origins of asylum practice\u2014I trace first asylum decrees to the early Semitic religions; its first institutionalization to Ancient Greece\u2014as well as contemporary policies, all while I follow a few Central Americans who are denied asylum from the United States and witness the dangers they face upon deportation. Today, as the U.S. refugee program is in peril of being almost completely shuttered, and as asylum protections are increasingly out of reach, stories such as those profiled in the report\u2014especially as more and more people around the world are uprooted and unroofed by war, economic despoilment, and climate change\u2014make clear the ongoing and vital necessity for asylum protections.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E \u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E \u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=33458 class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"A woman was murdered in Casa de Piedra, in the municipality of Panchimalco, outside of San Salvador. On the night of April 7, authorities registered two other murders in city. Photo from El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E \u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E \u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003E A woman was murdered in Casa de Piedra, in the municipality of Panchimalco, outside of San Salvador. On the night of April 7, authorities registered two other murders in city. Photo from El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a. \u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E \u003C\/div\u003E \u003C\/div\u003E \u003C\/figcaption\u003E \u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe report focuses on asylum, but also highlights the changes in international relations between the United States and El Salvador. President Nayib Bukele came into office last year promising change: but in terms of his attitude to the United States, it was more a reversion to the bootlicking obsequiousness Salvadoran administrations showed in the 80s and 90s, when doing US\u2014or the IMF\u2019s\u2014bidding took precedence over treating its citizens with basic dignity. In the last six months El Salvador has agreed to start accepting asylum seekers that the US doesn\u2019t want, or refuses to protect, and, with US funding and training, has inaugurated its own Border Patrol. Both moves were clear concessions meant to pacify the erratic whims of the Trump administration. At the same time that El Salvador has begun guarding its borders and promises to accept asylum seekers who seek protection in the United States, the country continues to forcibly displace and expel tens of thousands of people a year. Last week, El Salvador backtracked a step, admitting the country isn\u2019t quite ready to receive asylum seekers.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAs my colleagues at El Faro, Gabriel Labrador and Jimmy Alvarado, \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202002\/el_salvador\/23987\/Investigaci%C3%B3n-revela-que-138-deportados-por-EUA-fueron-asesinados-en-El-Salvador.htm\"\u003Erecently put it\u003C\/a\u003E, \u201cThe Salvadoran state does not know how to protect the deportees who are returned to their communities of origin.\u201d \u201cThose who identify that they need protection, who claim they would be vulnerable if they return to their homes, are not being attended to,\u201d Beatriz Campos, assistant attorney for the defense of migrants and citizen security told Labrador and Alvarado. \u201cAnd so they migrate again, are attacked or killed,\u201d Campos added.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E***\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the summer of 2018 I met one young man, Jos\u00e9 Ricardo Cort\u00e9s, in the notoriously dangerous and gang-controlled Mejicanos neighborhood of San Salvador. After dodging forced gang recruitment and threats, Jos\u00e9 fled the country with his mother. They made it first to southern Ohio, then settled in Kentucky, where Jos\u00e9 began going through a troubled phase. He was made fun of because he was one of the few Latino kids in his middle school, and struggled to \u201ccorrect\u201d his accent, as he put it to me, and fit in. He started drinking, ran away from home a couple times, and got in trouble with the cops. He spent some time in juvenile detention, and was eventually deported. Upon return to Mejicanos, he was targeted again: he didn\u2019t fit in, he had a funny, gringo-tinged accent, and the local gang picked on him and tried, again, to get him to join. After they told him they were going to kill him for his refusals, his aunt contacted Felipe, a community organizer who had shown me around the neighborhood a few times, and asked for help finding him a safe place to crash. Felipe (a pseudonym) helped him sneak out to a cheap, tiny hotel, basically a flophouse, in another part of town. Jos\u00e9 started dreaming of heading back to the United States. He would do it right this time. He would finish high school, get a job, put his life in order. He wanted to get the small tattoo of a diamond removed from under his left eye. He stopped drinking.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EI met Jos\u00e9 at his hotel one morning, and we spent a few hours talking. He had been looking for work\u2014keeping his face tattoo covered under a small circle of a Band-Aid\u2014 but was struggling to find a steady job. As we wrapped up our conversation, he asked if I could spot him a couple bucks\u2014he hadn\u2019t eaten yet, and it was already mid-afternoon. We walked to a nearby mall and I told him I\u2019d buy him a meal at the food court. He chose Taco Bell\u2014three Doritos Tacos, and churros for dessert\u2014because it reminded him of home.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EA couple months later, Felipe contacted me via WhatsApp, and told me that Jos\u00e9 had been murdered. He sent me a photo of him in his casket. A mortician had patched a bullet hole in his face with off-colored makeup.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBeing deported to your death isn\u2019t a new phenomenon. In the early 1980s the United States knowingly and sometimes deliberately tried to deport Salvadorans back to their deaths. As Robert S. Kahn reports in his 1996 book, Other People\u2019s Blood, multiple Salvadoran deportees were denied protection and sent back to their deaths, including Jos\u00e9 Humberto Santacruz Elias, who was deported on January 15, 1981 and \u201cdisappeared on arrival\u201d; Jos\u00e9 Enriquez Orellano, who was shot three times in the chest and then decapitated two weeks after he had been deported; Octavio Osegueda, who was shot to death in 1983 the day after he was deported; and a sixteen-year-old who, after being denied asylum and deported, was abducted by the US-trained Atlacatl Battalion\u2014the same that carried out the infamous El Mozote massacre\u2014and was never seen again.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAccording to another Human Rights Watch report, from 2014, \u201cUS border officials ignored [asylum seekers\u2019] expressions of fear and removed them with no opportunity to have their claims examined; others said border officials acknowledged hearing their expressions of fear but pressured them to abandon their claims.\u201d Ignoring claims of fear\u2014something \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/theintercept.com\/2019\/08\/11\/border-patrol-asylum-claim\/\"\u003EI\u2019ve reported on extensively\u003C\/a\u003E\u2014seems a systemic problem with the US Border Patrol. When you ignore a credible plea for safety, when you plug your ears to cries for help, danger becomes death. Though HRW counted 138 cases, that number is certainly much higher.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMost immigration attorneys I spoke with about asylum seekers deported to their death, while I was researching my book, told me they typically lose contact with their former clients after an asylum denial. More than one attorney, fearing the worst, told me they were scared to know what had happened to their clients after deportation.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ELast summer I was planning to visit one Long Island resident to hear about the story of her son, who was killed after being deported back to El Salvador, but she canceled our meeting at the last minute. The one-year anniversary of her son\u2019s murder was approaching, and she said it was still too hard to talk about. Sometimes, she said, it was hard to talk at all.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E \u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E \u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=33459 class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"A man killed near the entrance to the community of La Fortaleza, in San Salvador. He was killed on the afternoon of April 15, 2020 in an area that's become a border between the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs. Photo from El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E \u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E \u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003E A man killed near the entrance to the community of La Fortaleza, in San Salvador. He was killed on the afternoon of April 15, 2020 in an area that's become a border between the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs. Photo from El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u00a0 \u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E \u003C\/div\u003E \u003C\/div\u003E \u003C\/figcaption\u003E \u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E***\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EWhen the modern asylum program was established after the atrocities of World War II, they were designed to protect people from politics\u2014from the ideologies of racism and hate that targeted millions of Jews and other vulnerable populations in Europe. Today, the asylum system itself is becoming prey to nationalist politics: Trump and Trump-appointed judges slamming the door on refugees and asylum seekers not because their claims are not credible, but because of their own politics: the ideologies of nationalism, racism, and xenophobia. With borders currently on lockdown, and asylum and refugee programs shuttered, it\u2019s not hard to imagine that Trump and his acolytes\u2014both in the United States and elsewhere\u2014will try to extend the state of exception. In times of crisis, we must reach out to the most vulnerable, not slam our doors on them.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"}