GAO commented on proposed legislation which would provide for the temporary stay of detention and deportation of certain Salvadorans and Nicaraguans, pending a GAO investigation and a subsequent congressional review. The legislation would require that GAO make determinations concerning displaced Salvadorans and Nicaraguans in Central America, after their forcible removal from the United States, and those still in the United States illegally. GAO believes that, based on its recent study of the experiences of Salvadorans who have returned home from the United States, the: (1) availability and usefulness of information which it can obtain will be limited; and (2) limitations on data collection that exist for all organizations monitoring human rights violations weaken the validity of information on the extent of violence or persecution the returnees experience as compared to that experienced by the general population of El Salvador. GAO also believes that it would encounter similar, if not greater, problems in attempting to make such determinations in Nicaragua because there is no reception program for returnees such as the one in El Salvador, and the Nicaraguan government exercises substantial censorship. GAO expressed concern that it would be unable to carry out certain proposed provisions because it would have to rely to a large extent on information that non-U.S. government agencies would provide.
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