THE BORDER AND BEYOND

These photos show a decade of the immigration debate from every angle

Emotion and anxiety around immigration to the US helped propel Donald Trump into the Oval Office, and under his administration, deportation arrests of undocumented immigrants have risen sharply. Today, Trump traveled to San Diego to check out prototypes for a wall along the US-Mexico border—one of his signature promises from the campaign trail.

But for a more nuanced view of immigration than the fiery rhetoric frequently aired by both the president and his critics, consider the new book Undocumented, by photographer John Moore. This weighty book of photography shows every angle of the immigration debate, from the perspective of undocumented immigrants crossing the border to that of the US agents pursuing them in the desert.

Few photographers have been as well positioned to document nearly every aspect of the debate as Moore. Traveling the country for wire service Getty Images has provided him with a front seat view of an incredibly complex issue for over a decade. He has visited the holding centers where detained immigrants are sent, as well as their anxious families back home.

Funeral Held For Two Guatemalan Children Murdered
Families attend a memorial service for two boys who were kidnapped and killed on Feb.14, 2017 in San Juan Sacatepequez, Guatemala. Such crimes have driven emigration from Guatemala to the United States, as families seek refuge from the carnage. (John Moore/Getty Images)

One of the last images in the book aims for a high note, showing a room of new US citizens reciting the pledge of allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. But the path to that point takes the viewer through the many facets and perils of the US immigration system.

U.S. Customs And Border Protection Secures Tex-Mex Border From Land, Air and Sea
US Border Patrol agent Sal De Leon stands near a section of the US- Mexico border fence while stopping on patrol on April 10, 2013 in La Joya, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Moore returned to the US in 2008 after working abroad for several years (He was famously steps away from the late Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto during her assassination in 2007). He credits his work in Iraq and Afghanistan for preparing him for the bureaucratic challenges of gaining meaningful access to US border and immigration agencies.

“Border and immigration authorities have essentially a military structure and many border agents are US military veterans,” Moore said. “Having covered those wars, and having been embedded with US forces many times gave me great insight in how to work within those structures.”

U.S. Border Patrol Houses Unaccompanied Minors In Detention Center
A boy from Honduras watches a movie at a detention facility run by the US Border Patrol on Sept. 8, 2014 in McAllen, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Talking about his work, Moore emphasized that while his role as a photojournalist is to portray differing sides of the issue as realistically and fairly as possible, the most important aspect of his work is to show the humanity of his subjects.

“I hope that through my work and other journalists’ work, that we can get beyond seeing undocumented immigration in terms of statistics; we hear figures like 11 million [the estimated number of undocumented immigrants living in the US], we hear yearly numbers of apprehensions and deportations,” he said. “What I think its important to remember is that everyone involved is a human being.”

“If we see everyone as human, then its possible to find humane solutions.”

U.S. Border Patrol Agents Enforce Border Security in Texas' Rio Grande Valley
Undocumented immigrants comfort each other after being caught by Border Patrol agents near the US-Mexico border on April 13, 2016 in Weslaco, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Undocumented Immigrants: Faces Of The Displaced
Undocumented Guatemalan immigrant Elvira Lopez, 22, stands on crutches at the Jesus el Buen Pastor shelter on July 31, 2013 in Tapachula, Mexico. She has been convalescing at the shelter for six months after falling under the wheels of a freight train and losing her right leg while on route to the United States. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Undocumented Immigrants To U.S. Repatriated To Guatemala
Undocumented Guatemalan immigrant Fidel Rodriguez looks out the window before landing on a deportation flight from Mesa, Arizona on June 24, 2011 in flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala. (John Moore/Getty Images)
New Agents Train At US Border Patrol Academy In New Mexico
A US Border Patrol instructor yells at trainees after their initial arrival to the US Border Patrol Academy on Aug. 2, 2017 in Artesia, New Mexico. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Drug Violence Plagues Mexican Resort Town Of Acapulco
The body of a man killed in a suspected drug-related execution lies along the path where he was shot on Mar. 1, 2012 in Acapulco, Mexico. One of Mexico’s top tourist destinations, Acapulco has suffered a drop in business, especially from foreign tourists, due to reports of the violence. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Colorado Farm Suffers As Immigrant Workforce Diminishes
Mexican migrant workers harvest organic parsley at Grant Family Farms on Oct. 11, 2011 in Wellington, Colorado. Although demand for the farm’s organic produce is high, Andy Grant said that his migrant labor force, mostly from Mexico, is sharply down this year and that he’ll be unable to harvest up to a third of his fall crops, leaving vegetables in the fields to rot. He said that stricter US immigration policies nationwide have created a “climate of fear” in the immigrant community and many workers have either gone back to Mexico or have been deported. (John Moore/Getty Images)
U.S. Conducts Aerial Patrols Of U.S.-Mexico Border
A group of young men walk along the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border fence in a remote area of the Sonoran Desert on Dec. 9, 2010 in the Tohono O’odham Reservation, Arizona. Federal agents flying over the group said the men would probably cross the fence after dark to make their illegal trek into the United States. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Read more: An ICE spokesman quit over the Trump administration’s “misleading facts”

What America’s Rust Belt really needs: More immigrants

Jeff Sessions is quietly remaking the US immigration system

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