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El Salvador’s Youth are Trapped between Gang Violence and Police Abuse

Monday 15th of January 2018 | Latin America, El Salvador
The Intercept
News

This week, the Trump administration announced that it would soon end a program that gives many immigrants from El Salvador protection from deportation. In revoking Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for Salvadorans, administration officials claimed that the impetus for the designation — devastating earthquakes in 2001 — no longer justified its continuation.

With this logic, the officials avoided the main reason that Salvadorans are afraid to return: the gang violence that has made their country one of the most dangerous places in the world. The majority of Salvadoran TPS recipients have been in the United States for more than 20 years, and the El Salvador that Trump would have them return to presents a perilous new landscape.

Last spring, photographer Natalie Keyssar took photos of youth in gang-controlled neighborhoods of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador. These young people are trapped between the notorious gangs MS-13 and Barrio 18 — both of which rose to power in the country when their leaders were deported from Los Angeles in the 1990s — and an indiscriminate crackdown from security forces, carried out with U.S. support, which is making the violence worse.

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