Hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans have migrated to the United States since the 1980s, fleeing violence or looking for opportunities that don’t exist in their tiny country of 6 million people. Despite US policies aimed at deterrence and the rise of a charismatic young president promising to bring “new ideas” to governance, many still consider risking the dangerous journey north to be their best option. Elizabeth Hawkins spent two years as an ICWA fellow examining the root causes of migration. She discussed her experience on the ground, as well as how the United States should treat potential migrants, in a talk co-hosted with Network 20/20 on September 23. Former fellow and migration expert Joel Millman moderated a Q&A after her fellowship report.
Elizabeth Hawkins is a returning ICWA fellow who spent two years studying the push factors that lead so many to emigrate and seek asylum in the United States, with a focus on women who have experienced gender-based violence. Before her fellowship, she founded a humanitarian immigration law practice in Seattle and represented hundreds of individuals and families as they navigated the US legal system.
Joel Millman is a former press officer of the International Organization for Migration and former reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He was an ICWA fellow studying the impact of arms aid on recipient nations in Central America from 1987 to 1989, and the author of the 1997 book The Other Americans, How Immigrants Renew Our Country, Our Economy and Our Values.