Jose Sorto wanted to bring his son and daughter from El Salvador to the U.S. legally.
Sorto, 42, had moved to Washington in 1998, got legal status to work in 2003 and found a job as a cook at an Italian restaurant earning about $30,000 to support his family back in the port city of La Union.
El Salvador has since become the homicide capital of the world, and last spring, five of Sorto's relatives were shot and killed by gangs. Increasingly, gangs have threatened Sorto's 12-year-old son, Ernesto, and his daughter, Jocelyn, 20.
In July, Sorto applied to a newly created program, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department, that in theory...