For Central American immigrants who have experienced years of political and social strife, immigrating to the US promises opportunity and liberties that they have cease to believe as possible in their respective countries.
The issues faced by Central American immigrants is a particular concern since most of immigrants who have become isolated in the US. The situation face by the immigrants are not unique to them or to immigrants. The challenges they face are also shared with other populations that suffer social exclusion or marginalization that may be unique to regional origins . In the critically acclaimed film Toritlla Soup, the plight of many many of these immigrants, particularly those from Central America trying to escape political persecution, face the seemingly impossible choice of having no choice to leave one's country and having nowhere to go. The sense of disenfranchisement prevails in whatever choice they make. At the same time, they also have to struggle with their personal and social identity as they and their family transition to their adoptive communities whose cultural, social and political barriers often lie beyond their competencies to surpass.
Ellis and Wright (2005) study of geography and immigration also shows that there are differences in units of assimilation differs based on geography of immigration. They concluded that there is indication that there is sensitivity to political issues. Menjivar (2000) points out that there is a need to develop more intimate perspective of the issue from immigrants points of view. In her study regrading the immigration trends and issues among El Salvadorans, she points out that immigration into the US, whether legal or not, provides limited opportunity for social representation or empowerment. Often, with the focus of "managing" immigrants, policies become insensitive and unresponsive to the issues that are driving immigration trends, in particular those that are illegal. She points out that most policies view immigrants individually without recognizing the informal and formal social networks. The result is that individual immigrants feel that they are isolated from mainstream American society and rely more on these social groups which can make communicating with the population restrictive, if not combative with the government's various social programs (Johnson, 2006).
Menjivar's (2002) subsequent work, this time focusing on Guatemalans, highlight that the challenged that immigrants are often carried over to their offspring whose identity is often split between being American and that of their parent's native country. Anderson (2003) points out that this can create stress particularly for juveniles and also is considered to reason behind delinquency and victimization. Though these populations may have little link or awareness of their cultural or social history they are subject to the social preconceptions that may incite their feeling of marginalization of social exclusion. This has further been attributed to adult victimization and criminal behavior and lead to diminished effectiveness of social institutions and services for these populations as a whole. Survey of the population who have become victims of abuse indicate a significant history of marginalization, cultural or social exclusion (Menjivar & Salcido, 2002). The experience not only increases their vulnerability to crime or victimization but also their propensity to commit the acts to others.