Immigrants who make the dangerous border crossing into the United States often suffer many hardships in the subsequent years following their journey. However, a number of individuals hoping for eventual permanent residency or even U.S. citizenship never make it across.
Those who perish along the journey are the subjects of photographer Jonathan Hollingsworth’s new book, “Left Behind: Life and Death Along the U.S. Border.”
“This book is a way of humanizing the immigration issue we face in the United States,” Hollingsworth said about his book. “It also stands as a memorial to the people who died alone, without ceremony and who often are still unknown.”
Hollingsworth’s previous work includes a series on young Americans and their feelings on the Iraq War, as well as photos of Occupy Wall Street, according to Hollingsworth’s personal website.
The photos show the viewer the life of a medical examiner in Arizona who receives no fewer than 150 bodies of those who have died from exhaustion, the extreme heat or other causes during their crossing. One of the most difficult things to determine in those who have perished is often their identity, a fact that is made clear through visuals, which show careful archiving of personal belongings.
So far, the book has been met with praise, with those in the medical field touting its ability to capture the sheer will and lengths people will go through in immigration.
“Photographs are powerful tools to capture ‘moments in time,’ elicit emotion, and in this instance, visually illustrate the struggles individuals face in this period of immigration history in the United States,” said Dr. Gregory Hess, Chief Medical Examiner, Pima County Forensic Science Center.
The subject of immigration was also prevalent at the Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books. All the authors involved in the festival’s Sunday panel have written books on the subject of immigration, looking at issues of religion, employment and the perseverance often marked in first-generation immigrants.