Monday, June 18, 2018

A janitor preserves the seized rosaries and pocket Bibles of Mexican migrants

By By Peter C. Baker | March 12, 2017
The CPB considers rosaries to be potentially lethal, non-essential personal property, and agents dispose of them during intake
Tom Kiefer was a Customs and Border Protection janitor for almost four years before he took a good look inside the trash. Every day at work—at the C.B.P. processing center in Ajo, Arizona, less than fifty miles from the border with Mexico—he would throw away bags full of items confiscated from undocumented migrants apprehended in the desert. One day in 2007, he was rummaging through these bags looking for packaged food, which he’d received permission to donate to a local pantry. In the process, he also noticed toothbrushes, rosaries, pocket Bibles: a vibrant, startling testament to the lives of those who had been detained or deported. Together they make up “El Sueño Americano” (“The American Dream”), an ongoing project that, thanks to its unconventional perspective on U.S. migrant policies, has launched Kiefer into a photography career he’s dreamed of for decades. [More]
Confiscated bibles from "El Sueño Americano (The American Dream)” by Tom Kiefer