Antioch Law Journal


Since civil war broke out in 1979, the plight of the Salvadoran people has been well documented.' The United States Department of State which tends to be restrained in its reporting states that,[h]uman rights conditions in El Salvador are strongly affected by the ongoing civil strife. The achievement of a stable public order sufficient to protect individual rights has been disrupted by guerilla military operations, partisan hatreds, acts of revenge, fear and a prevailing uncertainty characterized by violence. This situation contributes to and is complicated by, the ineffective operation of the judicial system, caused in part by corruption and intimidation.2 The Department of State report also details the use of death squads3 and repeated attacks on civilians and villages which the Salvadoran government has proven powerless to halt.4 The chaos and turmoil endemic to El Salvador has forced thousands to flee and many of these turn to the United States in the hopes of finding security and safety.5 The United States has not, however, responded with open arms. Current refugee and asylum laws have provided but a modicum of relief, and there exists no special program for the admittance of Salvadorans for even temporary periods.This Note will consider this tension in the context of the history of immigration laws in this century and its effects on the Salvadoran plight. In conclusion, the bills pending in the House and Senate will be examined to determine if a resolution to this tension is offered.