Whole Families Are Fleeing This Tiny Country and Entering the U.S. In Massive Numbers

Tim Rogers, Fusion, August 19, 2016

In 2014, a wave of unaccompanied kids from Central America caught the U.S. government off-guard when they flooded into Texas in record numbers, triggering what President Obama called an“urgent humanitarian situation.”

Two years later, a silent swell of a different type is starting to emerge on the U.S. southern border. And it could be a harbinger of another immigration crisis in the making.

Salvadorans are fleeing to the United States in massive numbers, and now they’re bringing the whole family along. Though the number of unaccompanied Salvadoran minors crossing the border has not returned to the surge numbers seen in 2014, the number of Salvadoran family units apprehended on the southern border has increased by a whopping 96% over the past year.

Undocumented Salvadoran families are arriving in the U.S. in greater numbers than immigrants from any other Latin American nation. Ten Salvadoran families are apprehended here for every one Mexican family, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol statistics.

There are now more Salvadorans in U.S. immigration deportation proceedings than any other nationality.

For those paying attention to the situation in El Salvador, the timing of the new surge might seem strange considering that the country’s murder rate, which was the highest in the world in 2015, has dropped significantly during the first half of this year. The country’s death toll has dropped from an average of 25 murders each day in January to around 11 murders per day over the past four months.

At first blush, that looks like good news. But behind the numbers there could be a gathering storm that’s hard to see from the outside, but one that Salvadorans can feel in the air. And that sense that the center cannot hold might explain why so many families are pulling up sticks and heading out now.

The headlines in El Salvador suggest something’s brewing–possibly a war.

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