According to many Salvadorans I have spoken with there is still a lack of opportunity in their country due to instability, a poor education system and lingering institutional weakness. Many Salvadorans who wait for a day job at Home Depots around the U.S. would like to return to their country and be part of its rebuilding. Indeed, Cynthia J. Arnson, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, argues that Salvadoran expatriates play a critical role by sending remittances home, but that is not enough. El Salvador needs people to rebuild the economy and provide education and job opportunities to keep people from joining gangs. According to the Central Bank of El Salvador it received $3.6 billion in remittances last year. That’s important, but not the same as creating productive capacity.
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