Friday Faves: My personal picks of (mostly) unpublished images from the archive…
I’ve done photo work on the U.S./Mexican border on several occasions. During one of those trips I took an excursion into the side streets of Altar Mexico.
Altar is a major gathering point for migrants from Mexico and Central America as they make their way to the U.S. via the Sonora and Arizona desert. It is the place that most migrants build alliances with other people they think are headed to the same area they want to go to, and it’s often where coyotes (or desert guides) are hired.
There is an odd dynamic in the town. It is one of mistrust and last hope at the same time. Migrants know they must form relationships with a group, and possibly a guide, to make their way through the desert, but some would rather go it alone.
The town and its officials know they are helpless to stop the flow of people to the U.S., and the migrants have technically done nothing illegal at this point. There is also a demand for housing, food, clothing and other goods which brings commerce to the city.
The dormitories that line the side streets of Altar are filled with people during the winter months. The migrants are restless, but waiting – waiting for money to come from relatives, waiting for their coyote to say it is time to go, waiting for the opportunity to travel north in hopes of a better future.