Nearly a quarter of those deported since President Trump took office share one alarming quality: they don’t have a criminal record. A new report by The Intercept tells the story of Jose Escobar, who on March 22, became one of the 11,000 non-criminal deported when he was sent back to El Salvador. A resident of Houston, Texas, Escobar lived in the United States under a legal agreement with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. However, when he made his annual check in with ICE this year, Escobar was quickly sent back to El Salvador, a country in which he hadn’t resided for more than 17 years.
When Escobar first arrived in El Salvador, he was met by government officials as part of the “Welcome Home” program. As President Trump’s rhetoric against El Salvador and MS-13 has increased, those from the country have found themselves under greater scrutiny. The violence is very real in El Salvador, which is one of the more dangerous countries in the world. This violence is exactly why Escobar left the country in the first place at the age of 15. And while the violence and gangs are very real, those being deported, like Escobar, are not always part of the problem.
Escobar and his family have been in shock since his unexpected, and potentially illegal deportation. These days, Escobar spends his time at his aunt’s house in La Unión, El Salvador, where he remains cooped up in her house, rarely leaving, except with a bodyguard or to attend church with his family members. While his family and politicians in Texas fight for his return, Escobar’s only option is to wait for now.
Read Escobar’s whole story at The Intercept.