Monday, May 07, 2007

El Salvador

Via Tim’s El Salvador Blog: The Salvadoran government is about to start its first census since 1992. All current population estimates are based on projections from that 15 year old census.

This could have important connotations for understanding Salvadoran immigration. Although there will be a question about immigration in the census, the news story does not indicate whether the government will try to count the number of Salvadorans living abroad, especially in the U.S. Authorities are assuming, however, that they will count fewer people than projections would have expected. Most estimates I’ve seen are that 25-30% of the Salvadoran population lives in the U.S.

The movement of people back and forth between the two countries is extensive, so all the more important to get some solid numbers. For years, the U.S. government has deported Salvadorans by flying them back. I’ve heard unofficially that there is now a planeload every day after the immigration crackdowns of the past year. In fact, the right commonly threatens that the U.S. will deport more people (which would then decrease remittance income) if the FMLN wins the presidency. It is a powerful scare tactic.


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