Mexican Border and beyond

Where Fear and Hope Collide: Images From Mexican Border, and Beyond

Mexican Border and beyond

A man killed in a suspected drug-related execution in 2012 in Acapulco, Mexico. Violence has surged in Acapulco, once Mexico’s top tourist destination, spurring the flight of many Mexicans. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

For nearly a decade, the photographer John Moore has traversed the Mexico-United States border, covering the story of immigration from all sides — American, Mexican, immigrant and border agent.

His depiction of the border is both literal and figurative.

 Mexican Border and Beyond
Families at a memorial service for two boys who were kidnapped and killed in February 2017 in San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
Mexican Border and Beyond

Central American migrants climbing on a freight train headed north in 2013 in Arriaga, Mexico. Thousands of people ride atop the trains during long and perilous journeys through Mexico to the United States border. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
Gazing into the United States through the border fence in Tijuana. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

He captures misty images of river bends and rusty walls that undulate over sun-bleached grass, the natural and man-made lines of defense. He also makes intimate portraits of both migrants and border officers who square off on either side.

Migrants are splayed out on cold concrete floors, huddled beneath sparse tree cover as border agents circle in helicopters above, and lined up in a row, handcuffed, illuminated by the blue lights of police vehicles.

The American-Mexican border fence near Nogales, Ariz., in 2013. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
A United States Border Patrol agent pursuing a migrant near Falfurrias, Tex., in 2014. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
Immigrants huddled for warmth in a holding cell at the Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Tex., in 2014. Many are unused to air conditioning when they are detained.CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

Law enforcement becomes a part of the landscape — rigid and unyielding, as fixed as the walls, mountains and infrastructure they patrol. They survey stunning patches of forest and farmland with rifles at the ready. They listen stone-faced as racial epithets are shouted at anti-immigration rallies.

But for Mr. Moore, immigration begins and ends well beyond the physical border — a line where fear and hope collide to shape American politics.

Border Patrol agents taking people into custody in 2016 after they crossed the Rio Grande into Texas near Sullivan City. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
A boy from Honduras watched a movie in 2014 at a detention facility for unaccompanied minors in McAllen, Tex. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
Benny Martinez of the Brooks County Sheriff’s Department in Texas carried human remains found in Falfurrias in 2013. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

Mr. Moore’s border drops down to the gang-controlled neighborhoods of Honduras, where violence and insecurity are forcing record numbers of families to flee. It stretches north for hundreds of miles, from the auburn deserts of Arizona into the farmlands of Colorado, where migrant workers grow and harvest organic kale.

A young mother decides the odds of surviving a 1,000-mile trek to the United States are better than those of staying home, and her family’s journey begins. For some, their travels end in a locker containing the personal effects of “unknowns,” remnants of the anonymous. For others, there are white body bags.

Border Patrol agents near the border fence in Nogales, Ariz., in 2014. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
A Mexican immigrant family in their home in Tucson, Ariz., in 2010. For the photographer, immigration begins and ends well beyond the physical border. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
Allison Culver, a Tea Party activist, during a 2010 demonstration against illegal immigration in Phoenix. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

Mr. Moore chronicled the journey of immigrants, bringing together a body of work that involved dozens of trips over the years but came into focus after the election of Donald J. Trump, when American frustration over illegal immigration found its mark.

Undocumented Guatemalan immigrants were searched in 2011 before boarding a deportation flight from Mesa, Ariz. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
A Honduran detainee, his ankles shackled, boarded a deportation flight in Mesa, Ariz., in 2013. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images
A Border Patrol instructor with trainees at the agency’s academy in Artesia, N.M. New agents must complete a monthslong training course at the New Mexico facility before assuming their posts. CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

A few days after the election, Mr. Moore was on a plane back to the border to continue shaping what would eventually become a book.

Since Mr. Trump’s election, the numbers of migrants trying to cross into the United States has dropped, though historically they remain high. Many attribute this drop to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and a hostile climate in the United States.

But wherever the numbers go, Mr. Moore’s images reflect an American truth: The fury and debate over immigration to the United States appears to be going nowhere.

A Border Patrol agent with a ladder used by undocumented immigrants to climb a border fence near McAllen, Tex., in 2016. Credit John Moore/Getty Images

source: The New York Times