Eulich, Whitney. 2018. Between migrants and US border, an information gap of many miles. The Christian Science Monitor 1 November <https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2018/1101/Between-migrants-and-US-border-an-information-gap-of-many-miles>.
“I think US government officials are often naïve about how little access to accurate information Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans have,” says Elizabeth Kennedy, a social scientist who researches migrants and deportees in Central America. Only about 15 to 30 percent of these Central American nations have household access to the internet, for example.
“The way people get news in the region is through word of mouth. So, what the US might think is being effective usually is not,” Dr. Kennedy says, referring to official channels like embassy notices and press releases. And many Central Americans’ lack of faith in local government officials and media shapes how they digest messages from governments abroad, as well.
“Even if there is an explicit message, because of how corrupt the media and politicians are in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, [locals] will sometimes think, ‘Oh, so the exact opposite is true,’” she says. In 2014, when the US was telling Central Americans not to come, “Many Salvadorans took that to mean ‘[the US] just can’t have as many,’ ” she says.