I recently was fortunate enough to travel to the US-Mexico border with This is About Humanity—my second trip there. My role was simply as an observer and documentarian. I went to learn as much as I could about the humanitarian crisis happening at the border: family separation, the detention of children, and the troubling new policies that are affecting those seeking asylum in the US.
This trip we went to Tijuana to visit 3 shelters, Movimiento Juventud 2000 (a shelter that houses migrant families who are waiting to seek asylum), the YMCA Shelter for Unaccompanied Minors, which was full of preteen boys who had fled their homes alone as young as 13 to avoid being recruited by the cartels, and Centro Madre Assunta, a shelter for mothers and child refugees.
All of the shelters were 2 to 3 times their capacity. We saw a one month old who had been born on the caravan trail. We met people who had walked from as far as Brazil. We heard their stories of teens being senselessly murdered in the streets by gangs, and brothers being separated en route to the US who most likely have no chance of finding each other again.
Driving down Revolucion Avenue, which I used to visit growing up in San Diego just across the border, we saw firsthand evidence of human trafficking.
What we saw is not new. But it is undoubtedly worse. It will take policy change, activism, and collective outrage. Politics is part of it, but some don't have that time to wait.
This is about children. About families. About lives. About humanity.
Thank you to Elsa Collins, Zoe Winkler, Yolanda Walther-Meade, and Mark Lane for being our leaders on this journey. All the heart wrenching photos were documented by Morgan Pansing.