Borders are imaginary lines that require specific documentation to pass through and to stay on the other side. Certain individuals set these boundaries and rules that determine who is entitled to cross over these discriminatory lines and stay and who is not. For those concerned the imaginary concept becomes real and interferes with lives.
There are currently 45million Hispanics working or living in the USA, (particularly from Mexico) of which 12 million are suspected illegal. As Americans start families later and opt for smaller families the Hispanics contribution is responsible for half of the population growth. This rapid expansion has created widespread fear of losing the “traditional American identity” and crushing the American dream as Hispanics may be in a majority within the next century if current trends are maintained.
(NB: Click the arrows in the bottom right corner to view slideshow FULL SCREEN)
This diluting of their race is an unwelcome prospect. It breeds insecurity in some American citizens who are fearful of the face of America being changed. An anti-immigrant crusade has developed to prevent illegal aliens from crossing the southern border. In 2006 President Bush who opposes amnesty, authorised the fencing of 700miles (1/3 of the 2100miles) of the US-Mexico border of the states of California, Texas and Arizona. This $2.2 billion project is yet to materialise, but has been compared to the Berlin Wall and has been poorly received by neighbouring Mexico. The American economy enjoys the benefits of cheap labour, taxes are even deducted from the wages of illegal workers, but the government does not offer rights to citizenship or the chance to cross the border legally.
Patriotic Americans have also given up their free time to become vigilantes “Minutemen”, who secure the border themselves and report any infiltration to border police from 24hour video cameras in the comfort of their own home, from a simple internet down load. Private individuals have also made donations to enable the “Minutemen” to start construction of the fence themselves as they feel betrayed by the slow political response.
I was living as an illegal immigrant in Europe for more than 5 years, so this body of work is based on an understanding of being a man with no rights.
The project “700 Miles” will be exhibited from 19 Sept – 07 Nov 2008 at Kiosk Gallery, AMC Foyer, Great Northern Warehouse, Deansgate, Manchester. Opening hours 10am-10pm.