Second Coming: Central American Migrant Wave Is Repeat of '80s

Central Americans are heading north again.In the 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans fled civil wars and economic turmoil in their home countries, often finding a hostile reception in the United States.

Now, tens of thousands of women and children mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are making a treacherous trek to the United States to escape gang violence.


The reasons may be different, but today’s migrants face many of the same challenges as those who fled three decades ago. Graphics by Fusion Art Director Kent Hernández and Illustrator Victor Abarca:

Motivation Trumps Hardship

The New York Times: "Young Salvadorans Complain of Jailings in Mexico"

The Arizona Republic: "Thousands of Migrants Risk Death on 'The Beast'"

Deaths in the Desert


The New York Times: "13 Aliens, Cast Off by Smugglers, Die in a Baking Desert in Arizona"

Fusion: "Mass Graves in Texas Show Perilous Journey Continues in US"

Migrant Kids in Detention


The New York Times: "Border Sweeps of Illegal Aliens Leave Scores of Children in Jails"

The Arizona Republic: "Immigration Children Flood Detention Center"

What Draws Them North


The New York Times: "Aid to Aliens Said to Spur Illegal Immigration"

The New York Times: "Migrants Flow in South Texas, as Do Rumors"

Speeding Up Deportations


Chicago Tribune: "Flood Of Aliens Spurs U.S. Plan To Deport More Nicaraguans"

PBS NewsHour: "Bill Would Expedite Removal of Child Migrants From Central America"


Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

Share This Story