Salvadoran successes in the US

This year's August festivals were dedicated to those Salvadorans living abroad. And so here are two stories, from different perspectives, about Salvadorans succeeding in the US. From the Los Angeles Times:

Sometimes called the "Germans of Latin America" for their strong work ethic, Salvadoran immigrants in California had higher rates of employment, citizenship, voter registration, high school graduation and college attendance than their Mexican counterparts, according to a 2001 UCLA study. More Salvadoran immigrants than Mexicans also have computers at home, the study found.

In addition, a U.S. Census study of Latinos in America, released this year, found that Salvadorans had lower poverty rates than Mexicans and other Central Americans, and 41% of them owned their own homes with a median value of $221,000. Among Mexicans, 49% owned their own homes with a median value of $130,500.

In Southern California, Salvadoran immigrants have been civically and economically active. In less than three decades, they've managed to establish educational, medical and community organizations, build a small-business base, gain access to elected officials, lobby for the nation's first Central American studies program, housed at Cal State Los Angeles, and are seeking to designate the MacArthur Park-Pico Union area as "Little Central America."

From a newspaper in south Florida one illegal immigrant's story:
All day Miguel changes oil filters and checks the brakes of tractor-trailers at a garage wedged in an industrial section of Fort Lauderdale.

In the evening he heads upstairs to his apartment, showers away the day's grease and grit, then calls his family in El Salvador. A $2 phone card buys 55 minutes of time with his wife Norma and their four kids.

For a moment, he forgets it's been more than three years since he kissed his children goodbye and boarded a northbound bus out of the capital, San Salvador, determined to sneak into the United States....

He dreams of reuniting his family, buying a home and building a trucking business here. The way he sees it, crossing the U.S. border illegally is an economic necessity for many immigrants — not a crime. Busboys, gardeners, nannies and other undocumented workers should not be targeted like criminals for trying to scrape together money for their families, he says.

"I'm not a saint, but I'm not causing problems for anyone," he says. "What I'm doing is making the most of my time here."

Miguel sends $1,000 home every month, more money than he could make in six months in El Salvador. Twice a year he sends a large package stuffed with clothes, shoes and household appliances.


Anonymous said…
It is interesting that under free trade, there is freedom of movement for goods and money, but not workers. Why is that? Where is the economic boom from accepting the American dollar as our currency and by having a free trade agreement with the USA? Perhaps there is one, but only about 1% of the population enjoy it, while the situation is worse for the rest. And if it wasn't for undocumented workers, the US economy would come to a stand still. Who would pick the crops, clean the buildings, work in the factories or gargages?
Anonymous said…
IN January of 2001, about 2 yrs after the salvadoran government printed new billetes of colones, even adding a 200 colon one...
They switch to dollars..which then fux up the country for 99% as anon mentioned above.

Then conveniently, a couple "earthquakes"??
jumpstart the dollars coming into el sal via international donations that Arena stole to steal the elections.
what a sham!
I remember in Mejicanos, a lady asking me who was "Eb lincon on this beegee" de cinco dolar"
Salvadoran pride and heritage lost!
El Sal, the next P.R. Guam!
Of course salvys have the strongest work ethic in the world.
The salvy gov and gov have been exploiting that for more than 100 yrs.
All Left intellectuals gone or sold out (Villalobos etc in England. And the new left, permanently F#$@T due to the stupid actions of that Mario Belloso who took out an M16 during the manifestacion en La "U" a yr or so ago, and killed that pnc.

the Prensa is having a hayday with that comparing Belloso to Che, etc. The frente has been picked apart by vultures through the 90s and this decade. sad sad sad.
El-Visitador said…
You read a story like that of Miguel... that man must love his kids!

Makes you wonder... what if Miguel had worked for 22 years, saved, built a business, and only now were he having kids?

Instead, he had the kids and has now put his own life on hold while providing for his family's needs. And he hopes to do this for about 12 more years.

Wow. That's a triumph of the will.
Anonymous said…
I was born in el Salvador, I moved to us with my family about seven years ago, I've graduated from high school, got two jobs. situation like this happened among minorities all the time I can't deny Salvadorans are hardworking people I, also can't deny there's some bad people, like martin Luther king said, skin color doesn't determine character, for me, nationality, country of citizenship. etc. doesn't matter when you talk about character. Most Americans fail to recognize this. I'm glad my countrymen/women are considered hardworking and successful in US. hey we gotta spread the word. thanks for this blog Tim