U.S. Amnesty for Salvadoran Immigrants Applauded

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, MAR. 5, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Church in El Salvador applauded U.S. President George W. Bush´s announcement to grant amnesty to thousands of illegal Salvadoran immigrants, as their country recovers from two devastating earthquakes.

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During a meeting held with Salvadoran President Francisco Flores on Friday in Washington, D.C., Bush also promised more than $100 million for the reconstruction of this Central American country.

«This is good news and gives us the hope we need as a country as we face the terrible challenge of reconstruction,» Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez of San Salvador said Sunday during a press conference. The bishop is also president of Caritas in Latin America.

«I am happy with President Flores´ achievements, having obtained amnesty for a time for illegal compatriots, and also financial aid,» the bishop added.

Bush said that illegal Salvadoran immigrants in the United States will be able to stay an additional 18 months while El Salvador recovers from the Jan. 13 and Feb. 13 earthquakes. The quakes left 1,200 people dead and destroyed agricultural areas in the central and eastern part of the country.

Money sent to the affected country by Salvadorans living in the United States is crucial to supporting El Salvador´s economy. That money amounted to $1.6 billion in 2000, up from $1.37 billion a year earlier, according to the Central Reserve Bank.

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