The Salvadoran Migration: From Turmoil to Turmoil

Summary:

My research paper explores the conditions that a Salvadoran immigrant population had to face upon their arrival in the US. In specific, I will be looking at a marginalizing sense of security that confronted Salvadorans in the cities of New York and Los Angeles. In order to provide an idea of a hostile climate that challenged Salvadorans, I turn to the explanations of Richard Sennett and Mike Davis. Firstly however, I focus on David Harvey and several things he has written about the urban process in the 20th century in order to provide necessary background information on the conditions of American cities at the time (particularly New York). In the essays Neoliberalism and The City and The Urban Process Under Capitalism, Harvey does not only address the physicality of the city, he has also gives great insights on the history and politics behind it. Such insights can be used to understand the social context in the US during the 60s, 70s, and 80s (times of considerable Salvadoran immigration).

Synopsis:

Among the many political and economic affairs that Harvey points out in the two essays, we find New York City during the 60s with considerable social unrest and an initiative to make changes on behalf of a Neoliberal doctrine. In short, Harvey reveals that for the sake of creating the cities as we now know them, Neoliberal political thoughts and actions gave shape to a new form of administration and re-structured the municipal governments. It is in the midst of the violence that these changes inspired (and the civil rights movement) that the Salvadoran immigrants -fleeing an oppressive regime at home, and later fleeing a war- settle in the United States. With delinquency on the rise, living was made affordable for Salvadorans in dangerous neighborhoods. As most settled in Maryland, New York, and Los Angeles they engaged with fairly hostile environments. In these settlements some Salvadoran immigrants turned into ruthless criminals and took over many neighborhoods. Although James Diego Vigil from the University of California says that to find out why this happened more research is necessary, one thing is more certain; this is that American cities in reaction to this violence have taken up marginalizing methods of security. Regarding this, Richard Sennett’s introduction to Flesh and Stone suggests that the media has something to do with this as it produces a fear of touching. Mike Davis then establishes that by constantly throwing sensationalized accounts of killer Gang members, the media is reinforcing a justification of an urban apartheid…

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