The New Yorker has posted an affecting video of Manuel, a young man who fled gang violence in El Salvador in 2015 to seek asylum in the U.S. He was told he had a good case and settled in Little Rock, where he worked as many as 18 hours a day as a landscaper and gas station employee. Then in 2017, with a change in U.S. posture, he was deported to El Salvador.
Back in El Salvador, Manuel hasn’t returned to his old neighborhood. Terrified of the men who threatened him, he moved into his sister’s apartment and didn’t leave his room for weeks. He was in a state of “constant paranoia” every time he had to take a public bus. Eventually, like many deportees, he started taking English classes in order to find a job at a call center. But he is still living in a state of uncertainty. “Are you worried about your future?” the video reporter Danny Gold asked Manuel recently. “Yes,” Manuel said. “To be honest, my future is what’s on my mind in these moments. I can’t get it out of my head. What am I going to do? Who am I going to be in the future?”