Immigration crackdown closes El Buen Gusto, splits Barco family

The Barco family of Perry has lived in the U.S. since 1994.

El Buen Gusto, the popular Salvadoran restaurant at 1228 Second St. in Perry, has been put on the market due to immigration issues for the Barco family of Perry.

El Buen Gusto, the popular Salvadoran restaurant in Perry, is up for sale as a result of a letter to the Barco family received this week from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

“We just found out yesterday,” said Marisa Barco, 22, the youngest child of Carlos and Edith Barco of Perry, owners of El Buen Gusto. The family has lived 24 years in the U.S. Marisa is the only family member who is a U.S. citizen.

“My parents have to go back to their home town in about six weeks,” she said. “It’s a voluntary departure. They are going to go over there and wait for maybe residency or citizenship because I have asked for them since I’m a U.S. citizen.”

The Barcos immigrated to California with work permits in 1994 and were hired at Tyson Fresh Meats in Perry in 1996. By means of almost ceaseless work, Edith built her food business up from street vending to a taco truck to the downtown restaurant she and Carlos opened in January 2009 at 1228 Second St.

The Barcos are not among the 263,000 Salvadoran immigrants in the U.S. under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS), made available to refugees from El Salvador since about 2000, when a pair of earthquakes devastated the tiny Central American country.

The TPS program allowed Salvadorans to stay and work in the U.S. legally. The Trump administration announced in January that it will end TPS in September 2019. Salvadorans represent approximately 60 percent of TPS recipients, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

But the Barcos’ story is different. Carlos and Edith brought their eldest daughters, Meylin, now 31, and Yandi, 28, to the U.S. from El Salvador. Marissa was born in California in 1996.

“We as a family have nothing to do with what Donald Trump did,” Marisa said. “So they have to go over there and wait for a response for two or three years. We just got the letter from immigration yesterday, and then my dad sent it to his lawyer, and his lawyer told us what the letter said.”

The unwelcome news from USCIS prompted the family to put their business on the market and to post the melancholy news of Facebook:

“El Buen Gusto Is Closing… We Don’t Have The Date Yet But we Are Thinking With In A Month… To All Our Clients We Appreciate The Love && Commitment You Have Given To Us! We Are Very Sad To Close Our Restaurants Of Almost 10 yrs.. Don’t Forget to Come && Enjoy While We Are Still Here …”

They also listed the restaurant on the Perry Iowa Buy/Sell/Trade page on Facebook:

“Se está vendiendo un restaurante aquí en Perry IA equipado con todo a clientado interesados por favor llamar al número 515-745-4246 gracias.”


  1. If you still support that orange abomination currently known as the President of the United States, I currently have no words to describe you that they’d let remain here. You’re the kind of person who would tell someone who jumped out of a burning three-story building onto to your second-floor roof that they had to jump back into the burning structure. After all, they were trespassing and didn’t have your permission.


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