U.S. and El Salvador agree to share criminal records of deportees

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By Tara Bahrampour
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 25, 2010

El Salvador and the United States have agreed to share criminal records of people being deported, the second such U.S. agreement.

The agreement, signed Wednesday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez, is designed to combat transnational crime, including crimes committed by Salvadoran gang members who come to the United States.

"As a region, as a hemisphere, we have to share information," Martínez said Thursday. "Now, they will be coming not just with travel documents but also with any information of any crime they may have committed."

Previously, El Salvador received very limited information about its citizens who are deported each year, Martínez said, adding that about 20 percent are involved in "serious crimes."

The United States deported 21,049 Salvadorans last year, 6,306 of whom had convictions for crimes including misdemeanors, according to the Department of Homeland Security; so far this year, 4,400 of 10,476 deportees have had criminal convictions.

Many quickly return to the United States. The agreement is "a new filter for this segment of the population," Martínez said.

In a statement, Napolitano said the agreement will "help ensure that we are able to easily share information about criminals who may pose a threat to public safety in either of our nations."

The United States has a similar agreement with Mexico.

El Salvador has also requested an extension beyond September of "temporary protected status" for 222,000 Salvadorans living in the United States under a law intended to provide relief to countries torn by war, natural disaster or political upheaval.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company

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