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Mychalejko: History explains Central American migration

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The past is prologue for the present, especially when considering the “root causes” of immigration from Central America today.

I spoke with Doylestown’s Heidi Roux, assistant director of Immigrant Rights Action, and a Salvadoran immigrant herself who fled her home country as a young child in the early 1980s as it was embroiled in a bloody civil war. She told me that it’s important to teach history accurately because it helps us understand the complex issues immigrants are dealing with and what they are fleeing from.

“I love El Salvador. I don’t think immigrants leave their home countries because they don’t love their home countries,” said Roux. “They leave because they have to in order to survive.”

Rioux’s personal history is a testament to this. Her mother, Maria Rivera, escaped the country as a 23-year-old shortly before a military junta seized power in a coup in October 1979. The country was already descending into violence as the government was targeting all university students as potential “subversives” or “guerrillas.” Roux joined her in the United States as soon as it was safe and possible.

The violence that followed the coup and during the civil war was horrifying.


© The Intelligencer

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