Monday, February 18, 2013

Immigrant Family Portrait

Had a slow Sunday so decided to make a little run for the border and see if anything interesting was going on. Immigration has been back on the radar lately and just haven't seen much new art from the border area show up on the wires.
Anhoo, I went to BorderField State Park which a few years ago was a great place to find interesting photos and stories. Sunday's used to be a great day to go down because immigrant families on the U.S. side of the fence would come down and have picnics with family members on the Mexico side. There were slots in the fence where they could share food, grandkids drawings maybe a little money and other small things, I even bought an ice cream from a Helado vendor one time.
Now all has changed. Border Patrol folks built a double layer fence(about 100 feet from each other) all the way to the sea and effectively stopped this activity. They do however let a few people into a small area and have put up a wire mesh fence with holes about the size of a child's pinkie could fit through. As you can observe in the above photos, one can barely see through it.
Also, they closed off the road where you park your car and make you walk about a mile and a half to get to the park.
So I made the hike to the wall, asked the CBP agent if I could go up to the fence, and met a guy name Alberto Rodriguez. He is a contractor who lives in Los Angeles and came down to visit with family members who live in Tijuana. He was nice fella and his family all seemed sweet. He was a little baffled as to why I wanted to get pictures of him but quickly got back to rapping with his family. I shot for a few minutes and as I was heading out, he asked if I could snap a family portrait. I gladly obliged.
I can only imagine the stories of separation some of these immigrants have endured to come over here to try and make a better life for themselves. Hopefully we can work out an immigration reform bill that treats these folks with respect and dignity.

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