Twenty thousand Salvadorans were deported from the US last year. There are lots of stories about the life of undocumented migrants living in the US, but far fewer about life in El Salvador for someone expelled from many years of living in the US.
Josue Rojas at New American Media profiles several deportees in his article Deporting the American Dream:
Salvadoran deportees, or DPs, have a few things in common: they think in English, they’re young and they’re influential. They’re importers of the culture they carry inside — the niche, regional culture of the American city they grew up in. Be it New York talk, L.A. talk, N’awlins or D.C talk… they speak it. Culturally, they’re intimately in the know of something else that is arguably the coolest thing in the hemisphere: Americana.
In a country celebrated in Central America as one of the region’s greatest friends to the United States (and often paraded as a flagship for development) the DPs' influence spreads. They are simultaneously embraced and rejected. They’re the cool kids that society hates to love — Central America’s most beloved, betrayed bad-asses.
The seven deportees I spoke to were not all members of the internationally infamous MS-13 gang. Instead they were rappers and artists; they worked to remove tattoos and manned phone lines at call centers. They’re marginalized in a marginalized country –– foreign bodies among the harsh antibodies of a prejudiced, hyper-conservative society still dealing with the duality of right-wing conservative culture and a stubborn attempt at a socialist revolution. Coming in by the tens of thousands each year, El Salvador is sweating from the fever of their infection. They’re the ones who couldn’t make it on the other side, yet they’re successful here.
Once you’re deported, you don’t fall into a black hole. Your life continues, and with it your dreams. Disappeared from North America and rejected by the mainstream in El Salvador, DPs emerge with a hybrid culture of their own. They haven’t lost the "American dream" –- they’ve just been deported along with it.
Read the profiles here. The article includes videos of the interviews with the deportees. A related story here provides a reporter's description of a plane flight operated by the US carrying deported Salvadorans back to El Salvador.