2017 - Ongoing
Benito Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
IF WALLS COULD SPEAK is a glimpse into the besieged hopes, harsh uncertainties, and blunt realities—but also the enduring dignity—of Central American asylum-seekers forced into a cruel and dangerous waiting game by Trump’s "Remain in Mexico" policy. The individuals and families in these photographs have experienced unthinkable traumas and faced impossible decisions. I hope that viewers around the world can begin to understand the odysseys many have undertaken to provide a brighter future for themselves and their children – only to be mistreated and sent back across the US/Mexico border to Juarez, one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
I a product of the US Mexican border. I was born in El Paso, Texas but my home was in Juarez Mexico where I lived with my parents. As a teenager I traveled back and forth from Juarez to El Paso so I could attend school in America. I was very lucky. During my daily trips that took place over six years (from middle school to high school) I have early memories of watching immigrants travel by inflatable boats to illegally cross the border.
As an American citizen I was able to to make this trip quite easily but I became aware of the difficulties of others trying to cross the same boundary. Today those difficulties are quite extraordinary.
In 2017, I returned to my hometown of Juarez, Mexico to focus on a project about asylum seekers stuck in border towns along the US/Mexico border. In the past 3 years much has changed for those seeking asylum. The Trump administration has drastically cut the number of refugees that the United States will accept and is now requiring anyone seeking asylum to remain in the first country where they land. As a result, many migrants are now trapped in Juarez, Tijuana and Tapachula.
The work that I’ve been making over the past 3 years has touched me in a way that is hard to describe. I learned much about the hope and desperation people have faced in their journey towards a better life. I am aware that borders serve an important purpose but the United States was made great by the immigrants who founded it and it could be made greater still by those who are in need.