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The politics of migration from Central America on Tuesday's Access Utah

A map shows the outlines of countries in Central America.
Wikimedia Commons

According to the Migration Policy Institute: “Over the decades, several million Central America migrants have sought opportunity, refuge and stability in the United States, driven by a mix of factors including battered economies, violence, corrupt governments and the desire to reunite with relatives who emigrated earlier or to find a family-sustaining job. While media attention in recent years has focused on the arrival of unaccompanied minors and families, primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the lion’s share of the 3.8 million Central American immigrants in the United States as of 2019 have been in the country for at least a decade.”

Today we’ll be talking with Pitzer College professor Suyapa Portillo and DePaul University professor Ester Trujillo about the root causes of immigration from Central America, the dangerous immigrant journey and integration of immigrants into the United States.

Suyapa G. Portillo Villeda is Associate Professor of Chicana/o Latina/o Transnational Studies at Pitzer College and a member of the Intercollegiate Department of Chicano/a Latino/a Studies at the Claremont Colleges.

Ester Trujillo is an interdisciplinary scholar of Central American immigrant integration and Chicana/o Studies. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University in Chicago.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.