20% of El Salvador’s GNP comes in the form of US dollars sent back to El Salvador by family members who have made the long journey to the USA to find work.
16% of the population of El Salvador live in extreme poverty. This means they live on less than $1.00 a day. We’re talking a shack with a dirt floor with no sewage, running water, trash collection or electricity.
The per capita income is $2,450.00 a year. This compares to the highest ranking country: Norway at $60,000.00 and the lowest: Burundi at $100.00. However, while $2,450.00 is the per capita income this isn’t what each person gets. In El Salvador the richest 1/5 of the population receive 45% of the countries income while the poorest 1/5 get just 5.6% of the country’s income. That means most of the people live on considerably less than $2,450.00 per year.
So if you’re poor and you want to get into America to find work you make the long journey overland through Guatamala and Mexico to try to sneak across the border. It costs about $5,000.00 to make this trip. This is way more than two year’s earnings for you. You have to pay guides to get you across the border into America. To take this journey you risk your life. Some of the guides take your money and leave you in a truck jammed full of other unfortunate souls in the middle of the desert where you dare not utter a peep for fear of getting caught, and eventually you and your friends cook in the heat and die of starvation and thirst.
If you do make it across the border you have to find work yourself. The only way to see your family ever again is to risk your life and make the same overland journey in reverse. Then, guess what? If you want to sneak back into America for work you make the journey again.