Saturday, May 06, 2006

Salvadoran press coverage of immigration debate

The Washington Post review of world newspaper opinion recently looked at coverage of immigration reform in El Salvador:

Congressional legislation to crack down illegal immigration, deport undocumented workers and bar services to illegal immigrants has mobilized the Salvadoran community in America like no other issue.

Yet in El Salvador itself, U.S. immigration reform is rarely talked about.

"There is no sense that a new immigration law might be a threat because the government is so friendly with the United States," says Narciso Castillo, a television talk show host on Channel 33 in San Salvador. "The government does not talk about the issue and the media is very pro-government." ...

Castillo sees a double standard behind the lack of debate.

"On the one side, the government want the immigrants to send the remesas. The economy couldn't survive without them. On the other hand, it doesn't want to do anything publicly to protect the status of those immigrants. The policy is all based on confidence that things will turn out well for Salvadorans because of good relations with Bush."

I would disagree that pending US immigration reform legislation is rarely discussed in the Salvadoran press. Consider, for example, the April 6 online edition of LaPrensa where prominent stories detail both a tentative agreement between Republicans and Democrats on immigration reform and Tony Saca's support of pro-immigrant demonstrations going on in the US. But it is definitely true that the ARENA government, which so wants to portray itself as the best friend of the US, is very reluctant to criticize the US Congress. Even when laws are proposed which could lead to the deportations of thousands of Salvadorans, criticism from the ruling elements in El Salvador is muted.

1 comment:

Mysterious Me said...

A little FYI, there was a Dia de Solidaridad this past Saturday (May 6th). A gathering at Salvador del Mundo of Salvadorans and others standing in solidarity with those in the US who are fighting for just immigration reforms. There wasn´t a great turn out of people at the event, but there was a fair amount of media coverage on TV and radio.