Political unrest, violence have forced millions to migrate and seek protection of the rule of law

Amanda Robert for ABA Journal

Created 12/17/2019




The following article was written by Amanda Robert, originally for the ABA Journal.

“Raquel Aldana’s interest in the cause and effect of international migration is both personal and professional.

She was born to a Guatemalan father and a Salvadoran mother and raised in El Salvador. They fled the country in 1980, at the start of the 12-year civil war between leftist revolutionaries and government forces that left more than 75,000 Salvadorans dead.

Aldana was a child, but she remembers seeing bodies on the streets when her family walked to the market. She heard later that her father was questioned about his literacy work, during a time when students and community activists were shot as a warning to others.

“My father felt unsafe in El Salvador, and because he was from Guatemala, I know that we moved fairly quickly to Guatemala, escaping El Salvador,” she says.

But Guatemala was embroiled in its own civil war—one that would last 36 years and kill more than 200,000 Guatemalans. Aldana and her family stayed only two years, leaving for the United States in 1982 in a wave of Central American migration.”

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