Deported back to El Salvador - 8 years of data

It has been a long time since I've shared numbers on deportations back to El Salvador on El Salvador Perspectives, so it is time for an update.

The International Office of Migration for the UN (IOM) has a valuable website with statistics for migration flows from the Northern Triangle of Central America through Mexico to the United States.  The following graph, from IOM data, shows the number of persons officially removed from the United States and Mexico back to El Salvador.   I say "officially removed" because these statistics do not include people who gave up along the route north and returned home to El Salvador of their own volition, or persons who "self-deported" back to El Salvador from the US or Mexico after living in either country.

The graph shows calendar year data going back to 2016.  Over those eight years, the highest totals for deportations from both Mexico and the US was 2016, the final year of the Obama administration.   The second highest total was in 2019, the third year of the Trump administration.   The lowest totals have been in the past four years, recognizing the impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic on migration flows and immigration court operations, as well as the changing policies under the Biden administration.

Persons returned to El Salvador face significant challenges in reintegrating into life in the country.  Very often they return penniless, perhaps with significant debt from acquiring the services of a human smuggler (coyote), without a job, and often having experienced significant trauma in their migration journeys.  The organization has a recently updated website which lists resources and information for returnees.

The flow of deportations back to El Salvador is unlikely to stop anytime soon.   There are currently almost 145,000 pending deportation cases in US immigration court involving Salvadoran citizens, according to the Syracuse University TRAC immigration database.  And if Donald Trump were to be re-elected, he threatens a massive increase.

Very often the headlines focus on the number of people leaving and apprehended at the US border.  But we should also focus on the more than 1000 people per month currently being sent back to El Salvador in need of support and reintegration services.


How does Title 42 factor into this? I understand this is migrants returned TO El Salvador, right? Not necessarily expelled from the U.S.. Since El Salvador wasn't accepting Title 42 expulsions, I wonder if the numbers from 2020-2023 really reflect how many people were expelled from the U.S. and how many of those people returned to El Salvador "voluntarily" after being removed to México under Title 42. Is there a good place for information on those expulsions as well?