Recently, the United States government suspended its Peace Corps volunteer program in El Salvador — which was established in 1962 — citing security concerns.
“There is no evidence that Americans or American interests are being targeted in El Salvador, and the rate of crimes against Peace Corps volunteers in El Salvador is among the lowest in the region,” according to a Peace Corps statement. “However, this decision is based on the safety and security environment in the country as a whole.”
Months before pulling out the Peace Corps volunteers, the U.S. State Department even warned Americans against traveling to the Central American nation, citing high levels of violence and crime.
With a population of nearly 6.4 million people, El Salvador has long been plagued by gang and drug-related violence. In 2015, a total of 6,657 people were murdered in the small Central American nation. The homicide rate for El Salvador is 104 people per 100,000, making it the deadliest country in the world outside of a warzone.
"Keep in mind, you're talking about the national average," Adriana Beltrán of the Washington Office on Latin America was quoted as saying by USA Today. "If you start looking at where the pockets of violence are, it's shocking."
No wonder, then, that El Salvador is known as the “murder capital of the world.”
But that hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from sending back undocumented families, including many women and children, to the violence-wracked country — and possibly to their deaths.
Last year, a Guardian investigation found Salvadorans were being murdered “just days or months after their return,” confirming deaths of three Honduran men who were fatally shot after being deported by the U.S. government.
Under Obama’s deportation policies, thousands more could suffer the same fate.