History

Relatively few people in the U.S. know that there are more than 200 detention centers scattered around the country, holding between 34,000 and 50,000 immigrants at any one time and 500,000 people total in fiscal year 2019. The U.S. has not always forced people into detention for the act of crossing the border in pursuit of refuge and asylum. In this section, we provide a short summary of the history of immigrant detention. Additionally, as Ingrid is Salvadoran, we summarize the reasons people are fleeing El Salvador. This summary speaks to the importance of history, and the need for people to understand the large role the U.S. played in fomenting a civil war in El Salvador by supporting a right-wing death squad government. The effects of this military support are still being felt today, as Salvadorans flee a country that has never recovered from the violence of war.