A model for alternatives to stemming migration

February 14, 2019

By: Karlene Neal
Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
Advocate for Immigrants and Refugees

On Feb. 3, Nayib Bukele was elected the new president for El Salvador. Citizens of El Salvador demanded a policy of clean governance, which was Bukele’s main promise. He has invited the UN to set up an anti-corruption committee in El Salvador, similar to those which have been set up in Guatemala and Honduras which have had some success. Curbing corruption will free up tax revenue which can be used toward resolving the country’s sharp divide between rich and poor.    

As mayor of San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital, he tapped into public expectation for transparency and accountability in government. He worked at cleaning up the city’s markets where the most notorious gangs thrived. He made bold inroads on curbing corruption, saying, “There is enough money when nobody is stealing.” 

From the U.S. perspective, the best way to discourage migration is to provide a safe environment in poorer countries so citizens do not flee. Many Salvadorans joined the caravans attempting to come to the U.S. As citizens we could encourage our government to give assistance to leaders like Bukele who are “running on a citizenry awakening to the idea that honesty can be a norm in government?” *

*from the Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 1, 2019