United States of America: Information on the deportation and/or return of Salvadoran citizens from the USA over the last five years (1990-1995)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 March 1996|
|Citation / Document Symbol||USA23519.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, United States of America: Information on the deportation and/or return of Salvadoran citizens from the USA over the last five years (1990-1995), 1 March 1996, USA23519.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6acdf72.html [accessed 11 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
For information on the number of Salvadoran citizens deported from the United States during the period of January 1990 to March 1996, please consult the attached facsimile document from the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
For information on the removal of Temporary Protected Status for Salvadoran refugees in the United States, please consult the attachment Central America Report of 10 February 1995.
The following information is from a 19 March 1996 interview with a New York-based freelance journalist who has been actively following the deportation of Salvadoran gang members from the United States. She has been investigating the US/El Salvador gang connection since 1993 and has lived in El Salvador for four years. She is presently writing a book on this subject.
The Violent Gang Task Force of the INS was formed after the 1992 Los Angeles riots to remove illegal aliens suspected of criminal gang activities. Deportation activities were first concentrated in Los Angeles and southern California, but since 1994 have been expanded to ten other cities (including Chicago, Miami, New York, and Washington, DC). The INS performs "sweeps" in the predominantly immigrant neighbourhoods of Los Angeles, in order to collect "suspected" gang members for questioning. A "suspected" gang member, according to the source is defined as any individual who is Latino, tattooed, and is dressed in a fashion that is popular among street youth. These individuals are brought in for questioning to INS offices and are asked for proof of documentation and/or residency, etc. Each individual is photographed, fingerprinted and has photographs taken of their tattoos.
A number of scenarios will result in the subsequent removal of the detainee from the United States, regardless if the person is able to prove his identity and/or residency rights. If the detained individual is over 18 years of age and not a citizen of the United States, but has a criminal record that consists of more than two felonies, the person has the option to sign a voluntary departure order or to be deported. This includes individuals who have: temporary protected status, residency status, those who have been allowed to remain in the United States under the deferred deportation program or are waiting for an asylum claim hearing. The option of signing a voluntary departure order has the benefit of not having a deportation order noted on the individual's permanent record. Thus, the person can return to the United States at a later point and time with greater ease. If the individual has a criminal record, and cannot produce a proof of residency or a resident alien number, the person is immediately deported.
Under existing legislation, minors who are illegal aliens cannot be deported, but there have been examples where a minor has lied about his age, name or nationality and signed a voluntary departure order to avoid sentencing in the US court system, paying bail or parental detection of the minor's criminal record.
The source also noted that some individuals over the age of majority have been deported for offences committed while they were minors, a result from not being aware of their right to have their record of juvenile offences sealed on their eighteenth birthday. In the US, an application must be made to seal a juvenile record of offences; if this is not done, the record will stand. With the present record-keeping system, records do not maintain the date of an infraction if it occurred more than four years previous. Thus, the INS is unable to determine if a detainee over the age of 22 years committed the offences as a minor.
The most popular choice of false nationality given by these young illegal aliens is Mexican. The person will only be deported to the Mexican border, which allows the individual to illegally return to the United States more quickly than if the person had been deported to El Salvador. For information on the treatment of Salvadorans in Mexico, please consult Response to Information Request MEX0371 of 21 March 1989.
For more information on US-style gangs in El Salvador, please consult Response to Information Request SLV23520.E of 20 March 1996 . Additional information on a Salvadoran gang known as Mara-salvatrucha, that operates in Los Angeles, southern California , Washington, DC and El Salvador, can be found in Response to Information Request USA20358.F of 7 April 1995, available in French at Regional Documentation Centres.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Freelance journalist, New York. 19 March 1996. Telephone interview.
Central America Report [Guatemala City]. 10 February 1995. Vol. 22, No. 5. "El Salvador: Salvadoran Immigrants in the United States," p. 8.
United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). 19 March 1995. Facsimile received by the DIRB.