Philadelphia Immigration Lawyer Thomas Griffin Participates as Official International Election Observer in El Salvador, March 2014

From March 6 through 11, 2014, Philadelphia immigration lawyer, Tom Griffin, was part of a select group that traveled to El Salvador to monitor the hotly-contested Presidential Run-Off Election.  This sophisticated and peaceful democratic election process was the latest step in the El Salvador’s transition from violent civil war (1980-1992).  The election, declared “free, fair, and transparent” by all international observers, the UN, and the U.S. Department of State, pitted the two former warring factions — the leftist FMLN party and the right-wing ARENA party — in a head-to-head battle for control of the executive branch and, of course, the direction of the country for the next five years. The FMLN won the election, but by less than one percentage point.

Although the conservative ARENA party had a stranglehold on the country from 1992 to 2008, the 2009 elections ushered in the FMLN under President Funes, and resulted in a series of socially-conscious programs to uplift the majority with new schools, hospitals, maternal waiting homes, women’s “cities” and agricultural programs. Prior to FMLN’s election in 2009, the percentage of El Salvadorans who indicated that they wanted to leave El Salvador for better opportunities was 70%.  Under the FMLN presidency, that number has reduced to 40%. In essence, a socially-supportive government that represents the poor majority, seeks to increase employment, and make the country more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports, has reduced the push of illegal immigration to the United States.

With an FMLN victory for president-elect Salvador Sanchez Ceren on March 9th, the former rebel party should be able to further fertilize the seeds of reform they planted during the last four years and cultivate a dignified standard of living for all. These elections, in combination with the human and natural resources of this country — full of people that have never given up in the face of daunting violence and hardship, bring hope for further improvements, and peace and justice in El Salvador.

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To see more of Tom’s El Salvador Presidential Run-Off Election Photos click here.

For more information on immigration and citizenship, contact the Philadelphia immigration law firm of Surin & Griffin, P.C. at 215-925-4435 or submit an online inquiry.