Why Go North? Por que al norte?
emigrate - To leave one country or area to settle in elsewhere. (Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary)
What motivates a human being to emigrate? Why would anyone leave their place of birth or their home? Why would they leave their families, friends, language, food, culture, history, church and community? What powerful forces are at work that would cause someone to leave everything that is comforting and known to them and end up braving a hostile desert and militarized border? Do they risk injury, illness, degradation, terror and even death in the belief that they will find a better life?
Is the lure of a decent paying job and a car and some money to send home so strong that the poor and disenfranchised will make this perilous journey no matter what the cost or no matter what they leave behind? Or are conditions so hopeless, daunting and tragic that they feel they have no choice but to seek economic and political stability on the other side of the border?
These images were made in January 2007 between Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. They depict the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert and the imposing structure of the border wall/fence. The crosses and homage to the migrant were made at the Casa del Migrante in Altar, Sonora. It is a place where migrants can find rest and shelter before they begin the last leg of their journey to cross the border.
This experience was made possible by Borderlinks and its wonderful staff to whom I am extremely grateful for their generousity and guidance. For more information on this organization please visit www.borderlinks.org