Globe, Migrants, United Kingdom

Poverty and violence; causes of the migratory exodus

Last October, around 233 daily arrests were recorded of Salvadorans trying to cross the southern border of El Salvador without the necessary papers (known as ‘illegally’). The number of those who successfully made it is unknown.


Luis Beatón


During the 31 days of October, arrests rose to 7,250 despite denials from the Salvadoran authorities, who say that immigration is decreasing as Washington hands out breadcrumbs of work visa programmes.

This was reported by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has shown that migration is a desperate escape from the many crises that the Central American country is experiencing. For example, the annual report by the local Foreign Office recorded details about the 3,312 beneficiaries of the programme with the United States between June 2022 and March 2023. Out of this, 33% of the visas were granted to women and 67% to men.

Figures indicated that 6 in every 10 selected were between 26 and 45 years old, while around 28% were aged 18-25 and 9% from 46 to 66 years old.

There is a notable difference between those that enter legally and those who do so by a long journey through Guatemala and Mexico. Sometimes they go alone and at other times in caravans, which are vulnerable to criminal gangs trafficking in human pain as well as persecution from authorities in both countries, under increasing pressure from the White House.

The total number of arrests in October 2023 represents an increase of 11% compared to the same period in 2022, when 6,069 Salvadorans were arrested while travelling in search of better opportunities to support their families who had been left behind among regrets and hopes, according to authorities. Nevertheless, what October highlighted in terms of arrests was not the maximum as, one month before, in September, the total number of arrests on the southern border was 7,550; a slightly higher figure which shows the growing migratory trend.

According to the United States, in the first 10 months of this year, the number of arrests was 52,304 Salvadorans and yet, the main government spokesperson says that immigration towards the northern neighbour has gone down.

In the Presidential House, you cannot hear the cries of the thousands of compatriots who have resorted to exodus as a way out of their problems of hunger and lack of opportunities, according to the opposition.

On the contrary, given the rise in arrests in September and October, this supports the argument that there was a decrease which was recorded in the tax year 2023 (61,515) in relation to the tax year 2022 (97,030). In this respect, the leader of the opposition party Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, Anabel Belloso, just like the other spokespeople, attributes the migratory crisis to the lack of opportunities, especially in the Salvadoran countryside, effected by adverse climate situations and a shortage of official support and effective policies.

Others, such as Claudia Ortiz, of the Vamos party, have identified poverty, inequality and violence as reasons for this exodus. “We live in a contradictory country. One where millions are spent to give the appearance of prosperity abroad (for example Miss Universe 2023), but in which it costs people more and more to survive”, she said.

(Translated by Donna Davison – Email: Pixabay

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