Photojournalist Donna DeCesare's new bilingual book chronicles the lives of Central American gang members on both sides of the border. It's called "Unsettled." DeCesare teaches journalism at the University of Texas, Austin.
For years, immigration law has sent undocumented immigrants who marry U.S. citizens back to their home countries to obtain visas. Charlie Garcia, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador did just that. Tragically, he was killed there, waiting for his paperwork to come through.
The Mara Salvatrucha and its rival the 18th Street Gang were both created by immigrants. This past March, the Salvadoran branches of the gangs brokered a truce. Alex Sanchez, a former gang member, says the truce back home has reverberated in Los Angeles.
Charlie Garcia came to the US illegally and married an American citizen. Then the Salvadoran decided to try to become legal. He went back to El Salvador to file his paperwork, as required. He was killed there, waiting for his paperwork to come through.
El Salvador has the world's second highest murder rate. More than 4,300 occurred there last year alone. Though the U.S. has poured millions of dollars into anti-gang efforts in the country, nothing seemed to change until a few months ago when the Catholic Church stepped in.
In Central America's sugarcane field, more and more workers are coming down with a disease that shuts down their kidneys. Researchers are struggling for a cause. Chemicals on the fields? Heat? Overwork? No one knows, but it's a leading cause of death for men in El Salvador and Nicaragua.
New York has long had one of the most favorable immigration courts in the nation for asylum-seekers, but the number of immigrants who are denied asylum has nearly doubled, as compared to four years ago.
After three years in jail, 21-year-old Evelyn Hernández from El Salvador was acquitted of murder charges Monday. A victim of rape, she was previously convicted of intentionally inducing an abortion after giving birth to a stillborn son.
For the US, the deals with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to take back migrants are like a fortification, shielding the country from taking responsibility for people seeking international protection. They add yet another line of defense to other drastic measures the US has recently taken to keep them out.