NPR logo
At The U.S. Border, Cubans Are Welcomed, Salvadorans Deported
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/463207576/463446415" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
At The U.S. Border, Cubans Are Welcomed, Salvadorans Deported

Politics & Policy

At The U.S. Border, Cubans Are Welcomed, Salvadorans Deported

At The U.S. Border, Cubans Are Welcomed, Salvadorans Deported
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/463207576/463446415" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The inconsistencies of U.S. immigration policy is in focus in El Salvador. Two groups of migrants — Cubans and El Salvadorans — receive very different receptions at the U.S. border.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now the culture NPR's Carrie Kahn covers is Central America. And in the small country of El Salvador, she's watched people fleeing gang violence, trying to reach the United States. Then recently, El Salvador greeted a group of Cuban migrants also en route to the U.S. Carrie sent us this postcard telling us how these two groups get very different receptions at the U.S. border.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: I posted a political cartoon I saw here this week on my Facebook page. It showed a drawing of a bus full of cheering Cubans heading to the U.S. Next to it was a big rig also heading north. However, it was crammed with Salvadorans tucked under the chassis in hidden wheel wells. This is the U.S.'s current immigration situation. Since the 1960s, any Cuban who arrives on U.S. soil immediately receives political asylum. Central American migrants don't. That's despite a growing number pleading for refuge in the U.S. from the gang violence that has put their countries at the top of the list of world's most dangerous nations. This past week, I met 32-year-old Orlando Priede as he waited on a first-class bus in El Salvador bound for the U.S. The industrial engineer fled communist Cuba last October. Fearful that warmer relations between Cuba and the U.S. would end the generous immigration policy for his countrymen, Priede was following a well-worn trail from Ecuador through Central America and Mexico all the way to the Texas border. Officials wouldn't let us talk in person, so we chatted by cell phone, he in the bus's window seat, me about 100 feet away. We smiled at each other and waved. He told me how grateful he was to soon see his family in the U.S. A few days later here, I met a 19-year-old Salvadoran. He asked me not to give his name for his protection. He was recently deported back to El Salvador from the U.S. He told me how he fled there last spring after receiving two death threats from a gang that ruled his neighborhood with terrifying brutality. After months in a U.S. federal detention facility, a judge ruled his claim not credible and sent him home. He told me the gangs still terrorize his town. And today he's leaving for the U.S. once again. I saw on Facebook a picture of Orlando the Cuban smiling at a restaurant. He had already made it to San Antonio, Texas. Carrie Kahn, NPR News, San Salvador.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.