As wars between rival gangs continue to wreak havoc on Central America, more child and teen migrants are heading to the U.S. without their parents. According to a study released in 2014 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 58 percent of Central American child migrants who arrived after October 2011 fled because of
El Salvador is contending with an epidemic of gang violence. The small but densely populated Central American nation registered more homicides in 2015 than in any year during its protracted civil war, and young people are particularly vulnerable. Violent crime perpetrated by the “maras”, as the gangs are known, has claimed the lives of 7,500 young Salvadorans since mid-2014.
They committed their lives to serving their country, embracing by their actions the U.S. Marines motto “Semper Fi” (always faithful). Then struggling with civilian life after their tour, they make a mistake and suddenly they find themselves deported to Mexico, often without documentation. Here are their stories.