No asylum for Salvadorans fleeing gangs

As I've noted before in this blog, the gang violence in El Salvador has motivated some to leave El Salvador, entering the US illegally in search of a greater measure of safety. But if caught in the US, they will be given a one way ticket back to the dangerous situation they fled.

The New York Times ran a lengthy story today about the US immigration system's refusal to recognize asylum claims based on a fear of gang violence. From the article Asylum Law Offers Little Refuge for Those Who Flee Gangs:
In general, legal standards for asylum in the United States are not easy to meet. Asylum seekers must show they have a “well-founded fear of persecution” because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or “membership in a particular social group.” In 2009, a total of 9,614 foreigners were granted asylum, according to official figures. Guatemala, the Central American country with the highest number of successful petitions, had 265 grants. As the immigration debate becomes increasingly polarized, there is little interest among politicians or the public in seeing the asylum numbers increase....

At the same time, American immigration judges, always careful not to open the asylum door to any flood, have made it more difficult for Central Americans running from gangs. In a landmark ruling in 2008, the Board of Immigration Appeals denied a petition by three Salvadoran teenagers who fled recruitment by a gang called the MS-13, saying they had not shown that they were in more peril than Salvadorans in general.

The NYT article describes the cases of two Salvadoran men whose asylum claims were denied -- one was killed by the gans after being deported, while the other lives in hiding in El Salvador. It's yet another example of some of the ways in which the US immigration system suffers from serious flaws.