Since the moment a foreign foot first touched American soil, there has been a constant inward flow of immigrants; each for their own reason but most to escape hardships and oppressions and to search for a better way of life. All have made their indelible imprint and unique contributions to the American way of life. How today’s Americans so quickly forget that they are the children of those who journeyed, endured and sacrificed to remake themselves as Americans. For some it was two hundred years ago, while for others it was just yesterday. The question remains: what are the criteria to be considered American?
As a first-generation American, the son of Mexican immigrants, the sacrifices my parents endured to come to this country are at the forefront of my mind. Their intention was not to take from or be a burden to society but simply to escape hopelessness and provide their children a fighting chance to flourish and grow as Americans.
“Jente de la Calle,” a series I began before I joined the Marine Corps in 2004, are photos of those who live and work on the streets of Las Flores, Mexico. But as the issue of illegal immigration grew in importance, I decided to extend my portrayal to border towns stretching from Tijuana to Matamoros, and that is how “Border Town” was born. For the selection here, I have chosen to focus particularly on the lives of children. Ultimately, my goal is to produce images of who these “aliens” really are; not just faceless demons but humans whose daily struggle takes place just south of a man-made line.
To view the photos, click here.