The Migration of Salvadoran Social Activists into the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area: A Research Proposal

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The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, Vol. 3, 2011: 84-92.



Various factors lead to the “unprecedented” migration of millions of Central Americans, and more specifically, Salvadorans, to the United States (Lungo Uglés, 1996). One of the factors was an ongoing civil war in El Salvador throughout the 1980s and early 1990s that quickly gained U.S. support, and contributed to the deaths of at least 80,000 people and the displacement of roughly 20 percent of the total Salvadoran population (Cordova, 2005). This study looks at a specific subset of Salvadorans that migrated to the United States during and after the conclusion of the war. Through qualitative methodology, the use of case studies, and a literature review on texts highlighting social activists in Latin America, this study attempts to examine what the motives were for Salvadoran social activists to migrate to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area after participating in a 12-year civil war. By interviewing individuals that immigrated to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area after participating in the Salvadoran civil war as social activists, this study will reveal information about this subset of Salvadorans such as: (1) their immigration process, (2) their current living situation in the U.S., (3) their ties with El Salvador despite leaving that country, (4) their experiences within the war as social activists, and (5) their thoughts on the result of the war. Moreover, this study will also reveal information about the social movement itself in El Salvador before and during the war, along with its distinct characteristics.