Karla Chavez-Espinosa

Karla Chavez-Espinosa

2020 Undergraduate Fellow
History

Thesis title and description:
"Children of War to Immigrants: Transistional Justice Following El Salvador's Civil War, 1990-2001"

My thesis focuses on the experience of Salvadoran immigrants, specifically children in armed conflict, in the United States following the Salvadoran Civil War (1979 –1992) from1990, when the United States’ approved Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and rejected the majority of refugee applications from El Salvador, to 2001, when national immigration policy shifted following 9/11. My research focuses on transitional justice for Salvadoran children and its simultaneous relation to the immigrant experience in the United States. This thesis will draw on oral history as its central methodology, accompanied by a close analysis of government and advocacy organizations’ archival documents. I plan to conduct oral histories with Salvadoran immigrants, once children caught in armed conflict who now live in the US. While the focus of my work is based in the US, it tells a transnational story of migration and the reality of US involvement both abroad and domestically. I intend to argue that children during the Salvadoran Civil War, who later immigrated to and currently live in the US, have not experienced transitional justice from their native or residing countries, and furthermore, that there exists a gap in the memory of US involvement and its relation to migration from El Salvador.