By the first years of the 21st century, more than 2 million people of Central American origin were living in the United States and Canada. Most were in North America legally, but a significant minority-perhaps 20 percent-had immigrated without the proper documentation. Poverty and political violence, especially a series of bloody civil wars during the 1980s, have been at the root of much emigration from Central America. This book briefly chronicles the often-troubled history of the region's seven countries-Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama-and examines the experiences of those who have left to find a new life in North America. Despite many hardships, Central Americans have established vibrant communities throughout the United States and Canada, and their presence will only grow in the coming years.
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