An Open Letter to Salvadoran Migrant Children


Balloon animals lift the spirits of Central American children on the long journey. Photo on Flickr by user Peter Haden. CC BY 2.0.

From El Salvador, Pablo Lüers writes an open letter to migrant children who have traveled on their own to the United States and who will be deported back to their countries:

Ustedes aquí en El Salvador y en su pueblo o barrio, se van a encontrar de vuelta con cada una de las razones que los hicieron emprender el viaje, a pesar de todos los riesgos. Quienes de ustedes tienen hermanos mayores pandilleros, los van a encontrar todavía sin perspectiva de salida de la cárcel o de la vida criminal, porque aun no existe una política pública para abrirles puertas a una vida dentro de la sociedad.

[…] Todos, hayan sido victimas de pandillas o de policías o simplemente de la violencia generalizada, van a regresar a lo mismo. Porque es ilusorio pensar que las grandes noticias sobre su odisea en los desiertos y los territorios de narcos en México, sobre su captura y su sobre su deportación hayan despertado en los gobernantes de su patria El Salvador conciencia de lo que deben a esta generación perdida que llaman “jóvenes en riesgo”.

Así que, bichos, prepárense bien: En el aeropuerto los va a recibir con discursos conmovedores, pero al rato les va a tocar ver cómo sobreviven, cómo terminen la escuela, cómo encuentran un trabajo, y cómo hacen para no volverse pandilleros o víctimas de pandilleros, presos o muertos.

Here in El Salvador and in your town or neighborhood, you will face again the same reasons that made you set out on your journey, in spite of all possible risks. Those of you who have older brothers in gangs will find they still don't see a way out of jail or a life of crime, as there are no public policies to open doors for them in society.

[…] All of you, whether victim of gangs or police agents or just the general violence, will be back to the same situation. It is illusory to think that the big news about your ordeal in the deserts and the drug dealer territories in Mexico, about your detention and deportation have awakened awareness in the rulers of your country, El Salvador, about what they owe this lost generation they know as “youth at risk”.

So, lads, be prepared. At the airport, you'll be welcomed with heartbreaking speeches, but in no time you will have to figure out how to survive, how to graduate from school, how to find a job and how not to become part of a gang or a victim of a gang, how not to end up in jail or dead.


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