El Salvador


I met Daniela by going to a restaurant that is in my neighborhood. This is a Salvadorian restaurant. I started to talk to people that were going inside the restaurant to eat. Finally Daniela decided to help me with my project. Since she is illegally in this country we decide to use a different name and change the age status to protect her identity.  

I asked Daniela if I could take a photo of her. She did not want a picture taken from her especially when I told her that I was going too posted in a web page. She told me that she is scare of the notorious gang. She believes that they are going to come after her. I told that I was not going to show her face.

We exchange phone numbers mainly because I wanted to make sure the information she provided me was correct. I decided to give her a call after a couple of days of the interview. I came to realize she gave me a bogus number which I try to call her to ask her if all the information was correct.



El Salvador was involved in a civil war from the 1981 to the early years of the 1990’s.  Many people left El Salvador because they were in danger. People have been migrating to the United States. People from El Salvador are now sending more remittances with each year. The remittances have been increasing since the year 1999.  In 2004 the total amount of remittances sent to El Salvador was $2,105.3 million. The per capital in 2004 was estimated $4,900.


I came to the United States in the year of 1998.  I was very young when I decide to leave my hometown of San Salvador.  I had just turned 13 years old.  I had a harsh life back in El San Salvador. I had to quit going to school because I had to take care of my Grandparents. My mom was assassinated in the civil war. My dad was in the United States which he was doing everything possible that I had a better life. 

     I come from a poor family; I had to support my grandparents. Life is harsh because of the gangs there is back home.  I was robbed several times by the most notorious gang there is in El Salvador, la mara salvatrucha.  I was asked repeated times to join the gang. I always replied that I did not want any troubles with nobody.  I was raised to always be a hard worker. Always do the hard work and god is going to pay off for all the sacrifices one does. 

My journey to the United States was a long.  It took me couple months to complete. My journey started from San Salvador by going on bus to the border of Guatemala. From Guatemala I took the train until I arrived at the border with Mexico. I had to cross in the State of Chiapas illegally to Mexico. From Chiapas I rode a bus that took me all the way to Mexico City.

     In Mexico City I had to work for three month so that I could get more money. I had spent all the money that my dad had sent me to come over to the United States. I work selling gums in the streets of Mexico City, cleaning windshields of cars and as a domestic worker. As a domestic worker is where I earned more money but it was a difficult job. Wake up early in the morning and going to bed late at night. 

     Once I had enough money and my dad sent me more money I was going to continue my journey. I took the bus and I was headed to the border of the southern part of Arizona.  I was headed to Agua Prieta.  Once I crossed the border I had to walk 4 days in the dessert.  I was actually detained by the border patrol on my first attempt crossing to the United States. Since I told the agents I was from Mexico I was release in the border and not all the way to El Salvador. I had to walk another 4 days, this time I was successful. In Tucson I got into a car that was going to take me to Phoenix.  My dad had the money to pay the coyote (smuggler).

     In the time I was in Mexico I was able to confirm that the Mexican migration personnel are crueler then the American border patrol people. I don’t know if their attitude that they are superior to other people gets to them or their ego. They are complaining that the American are abusive when they should see themselves how they treat people from different countries that come illegally.

Now that I am here in the United States I have not forgot my grandparents. I send remittances to my grandparents it is not a huge amount of money. At lease they can eat well and not work as much as they did when I was home.  I talk with them every week. I send pictures they send me pictures. I actually feel much closer to them now than when I was back home. We did not have the communication like we do today.

     My life has turn around here in the US mainly because I have job and I am going to school to learn how to speak English. There are times when I am just tired and don’t want to go to school. I always tell myself I came to this country to have a better life than I did back in El Salvador.

     To be honest I have been discriminated by Hispanic here in the US because they now have the misconception that all young adults from El Salvador are from the Mara Salvatrucha gang.  This misconceptions gets me very upset because I am not like that, I actually left El Salvador for this reason because I did not want to join the gang and I was harass to join many times. I was rob couple of times, I was persecuted to join the gang. This is the main reason why I left El Salvador.

     I am currently taking ESL classes to learn English. I believe that this is going to help me in the future because I want to get my GED and go to college and have a profession in this country. This would be my way of thanking the country for its wonderful things it has to offer.

This country offers plenty of opportunities which one has to take advantage. I believe people born in this country are spoil mainly because they take everything for granted. There is more money here which I can earn than what I used to make in El Salvador.

     Adapting to the US was not easy. There are many cultures in this country and one has to adapt to them. Something seem strange to me at first, but now it’s like everyday routine. I had to learn the language. Even though there are people that speak Spanish in Arizona. I made new friends from El Salvador, which they taught me how to adapt to the US.

     I would like to go back someday and visit my grandparents. I think I would not be able to stay for long in San Salvador because I have adapt to the life of the US. It can be easy to stay a couple days only. The economy is not as stable I would have to leave probably early then expect.

     I have work in the US with improper documentation. To get my first job was hard because I was so young and look young. My job was working at a car wash. I work hard to keep my job. I had to put up many with many abuses. I had no voice in my job. If I talk back at my boss or anybody else I could be fired immediately. This is typical for the people that work in the car wash.

     I feel that the state legislators that are in office are not hearing our voices. They have passed laws that discriminate the undocumented people. The recent laws are destroying the us for example proposition 200, which denies public service to the undocumented people. The English only law which affects the young people in public schools, state offices. The new law proposal, which if a person is pull over and does not have a driver license the automobile, is going to be tow. Which this was done in the year past, the car was just left alone where the person was pull over. 

     I am currently single but in this country the women is allow to work. I believe that I am going to keep on working even when I get marry. I believe this is accepted because most of the families are doing it more.


Analysis, Interpretation, & Sources

Migration is many people that are living in the United States had to migrate here because of personal reason. Many migrate to have a better style of living. Others are just seasonal workers and save enough money and go back to their home country. Others come to here because they fled their native country because of they were being persecuted and had to flee for their lives.

Daniela left El Salvador because she was in danger by the famous notorious gang. As the article we read in class called “Why Migration” the article says that most Salvodoreñes left because they fear for their live. In Latin America many people are forced to work from an early age. Daniela started working at an early age; she had to help by bringing money to her grandparent’s home. I found another article name “The New Immigrants” we read in class that says that migrants from “Latin America the tradition been focus not on the future, not on progress, but on the present, or the past. Work has been seen as a necessary evil”

With the story that Daniela told me I know it is true that people that are undocumented workers do not have a voice at their job. I found another article that backs the point Daniela told me. “When you are illegal you can’t talkback.” “Keep your head down and follow orders.” This is the type of treatment many people that are undocumented people face at with their employer. This was in the article of “The Heartland’s Raw deal.”



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