With their native country overwhelmed by violence beyond its capacity to address, and with the threats to their own safety increasingly personal and specific, flight was a matter of immediate survival for these children and their families. They had hoped to seek asylum in this country under the international rules. US immigration policy denied the opportunity to present their case.
Rejected at the US frontier, the children were living with their families in tents on a Mexican street just over the bridge from El Paso, Texas. The camp was exposed, both to the elements and to the lawlessness of northern Mexico. In January 2020, as winter set in, Mexican authorities swept into the street camp. Forty-seven families were dragged from their tents, allowed only a few seconds to grab what belongings they could from the tents before they were destroyed and hauled away in garbage trucks. These children were still living in the camp at the time it was demolished.
In November of 2019, I traveled to the US/Mexico border and began seven large portraits of migrant children in Ciudad Juarez. The drawings were completed in Cleveland during the 2020 covid quarantine. These portraits are part of an ongoing series documenting migrant and refugee children, in hopes of raising awareness of their situation.