A coalition of refugee aid groups began a campaign yesterday to win special status for people fleeing strife-torn El Salvador.
Patrice Perillie of the Central American Refugee Center here called on the U.S. government to grant the Salvadorans temporary asylum until conditions stabilize in their homeland.
Such status was granted refugees from Nicaragua and Vietnam, Perillie said, but has been denied Salvadorans who are classified as economic, rather than political, refugees.
Currently, 200 to 300 Salvadorans are returned from the United States to Salvador every day, she said, and are endangered by fighting between the U.S.-backed junta that governs the nation and leftist guerrillas.
One case Perillie cited was Santana Chirino Amaya, who she said was found murdered in El Salvador two months after having been deported from the United States a second time. His killer is not known, she said.
Meanwhile, a private delegation just back from a 10-day visit to El Salvador yesterday said there are "grounds for confidence" that free elections can be held in March to bring an end to El Salvador's bloody civil war.
The seven-member committee--representing civic, academic, religious and other private groups--was in El Salvador Dec. 4-13.
It was co-chaired by Clark Kerr, president emeritus of the University of California at Berkeley, and Angier Biddle Duke, a former ambassador to El Salvador.
In a joint report presented at a news conference, the group said:
"While we see no easy road ahead for El Salvador, some essential steps toward peaceful democratic solutions to the current and often violent conflicts are under way: the sweeping land-reform program enacted by the Christian Democratic government in March and April of 1980 and the elections that are scheduled for March 28, 1982, to name a Constituent Assembly."