Reinforced Water Bottle

Reinforced Water Bottle

This migrants' water bottle was reinforced with duct tape for protection while crossing the desert. One gallon of water weighs 8.36 pounds. A bare minimum of one gallon of water per day is needed when temperatures exceed 80 degrees when physical activity is involved to avoid severe dehydration leading to hyperthermia (extreme heat exposure) and death. The average number of days it takes a migrant to cross the desert is about six.

Water Bottles

Water Bottles

Water is the main source of hydration when crossing the desert. In the Tucson sector of the U.S./Mexico border, heavy-duty non-biodegradable black plastic bottles are commonly used as canteens and are occasionally covered or insulated with remnants of clothing or blanket.

Billfolds and Wallets

Billfolds and Wallets

After being apprehended, the belongings of a detainee are placed in a property bag or remain in the backpack they traveled with. Sometimes essential items such as wallets, money and personal identification are accidentally discarded or are lost while those in custody are being transported between various law enforcement facilities.

Patrick!

Patrick!

This small coin purse was considered non-essential personal property and discarded during intake.

Nuevos Testamentos

Nuevos Testamentos

Placed upon a migrants' bandana, these New Testaments were considered non-essential personal property and discarded during the initial stages of processing.

Inside Cover

Inside Cover

The inside cover of a New Testament has a record of a migrants travel to and entry into the U.S. via the Mexico/Arizona border. This person crossed into the U.S. on August 10, 2009 and was apprehended six days later.  The item was considered non-essential personal property and discarded during processing.

43 (Red)

43 (Red)

Rosaries are sometimes considered non-essential personal property, potentially lethal and discarded.

Black Combs and Brushes

Black Combs and Brushes

Personal items such as combs, brushes and elastic hair bands are considered non-essential, potentially lethal and discarded during intake.

Pink Combs and Brushes

Pink Combs and Brushes

Personal items such as combs, brushes and mirrors are considered non-essential, potentially lethal and discarded during intake.

Nuria

Nuria

A migrant carved her name into this comb with an extremely sharp object and filled it in with ink from a pen. Considered potentially lethal, this was considered non-essential personal property and discarded during intake.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

The majority of migrants cross the desert at night and take refuge in whatever shade they can find during the day. Periods of extreme heat start in early March and extend well into October along most of the U.S./Mexico border. Personal property considered non-essential is discarded during intake.

Oral Hygiene

Oral Hygiene

Toothpaste and toothbrushes are considered potentially lethal non-essential personal property and are disposed of during intake. While in custody, most migrants will not have access to toothpaste and toothbrushes.

Miscellaneous Bottles

Miscellaneous Bottles

Water is the primary source of hydration when crossing the desert. These plastic bottles, stripped of their labeling, contained mostly dairy-based products such as chocolate milk or fruit flavored yogurt drinks. The much smaller bottles were filled with “energy shot" supplements which can be a lethal dehydrant when crossing the desert.

Keys

Keys

Personal items such as keys are considered potentially lethal, non-essential personal property and usually discarded. Collateral costs involved with replacing keys or changing locks for home or vehicle can easily escalate into significant sums of money.

Nail Clippers

Nail Clippers

Personal items such as nail clippers are considered potentially lethal, non-essential personal property and discarded.

Baby Food

Baby Food

The type of food carried by migrants varies greatly. Babies and young children do travel with parents and older siblings. All food is considered contraband and is discarded during intake.

Tuny

Tuny

This tuna product is an efficient and compact source of food and protein. This particular brand features a pull-top lid which does not require a can opener. All food, including items such as powdered milk, beef jerky, granola bars and dehydrated soup is considered contraband and disposed of during intake.

Satisfies!

Satisfies!

The Snickers brand of candy bar is generally the most popular of all carried by migrants and U.S. Border Patrol agents. All food is considered contraband and discarded during intake.

Animal Crackers

Animal Crackers

All food is considered contraband and discarded during intake.

Give us your tired, your poor

Give us your tired, your poor

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the U.S. in 1886. In 1903 a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus was cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted on the statue base welcoming all immigrants. Using letters from dry alphabet soup carried by migrants the poem is replicated. All food is considered contraband and discarded during intake.

Flatware

Flatware

Utensils used for eating food out of cans while crossing the desert are considered potentially lethal non-essential personal property and discarded during intake.

Bones

Bones

Border Patrol substations located on the Tohono O’odham nation inside the state of Arizona are very remote and will often have “Reservation Dogs” in the encampment; dogs which have friendly and approachable dispositions and who are loosely adopted and fed by the agents who in return help guard against rattlesnakes or scorpions. These dogs are free to come and go and will often bring into camp the bones of remains from other animals to chew on.

Shoelaces

Shoelaces

Similar to belts, shoelaces are stripped from shoes because they are considered lethal and could be used to harm themselves or others. Detainees subsequently move through the U.S. court system and are deported with with no belt for their pants or shoelaces for their shoes.

Belt Labyrinth

Belt Labyrinth

Similar to belts, shoelaces are stripped from shoes because they are considered lethal and could be used to harm themselves or others. Detainees subsequently move through the U.S. court system and are deported with with no belt for their pants or shoelaces for their shoes.

Trail Markers

Trail Markers

Brightly colored objects are placed along a path to assist those traveling behind them. These rubber ducks were used as trail markers, one of which still had a twist-tie used to fasten to a bush or tree branch.

Soap

Soap

Personal hygiene items such as soap is considered non-essential personal property and is disposed of during intake.

Condoms

Condoms

Personal items such as condoms are confiscated and considered non-essential property and discarded during intake.

Contraceptive

Contraceptive

Migrant women face additional threats on their journey through Mexico and into the United States. While there are no agreed upon statistics, a general consensus is that at least 25 percent of women who travel are sexually assaulted. Besides preventing unwanted pregnancies, this medication can greatly impact many aspects of a woman's overall health. Personal items such as birth controls pills are considered non-essential and discarded during intake.

Malverde

Malverde

Malverde is a folklore hero in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He is considered a “Robin Hood” archetype, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. The wooden plaque of Malverde was considered non-essential personal property and discarded during intake as were the accumulated collection of coins.

Tokens and Medallions

Tokens and Medallions

Migrants will carry tokens and medallions that will have personal meanings to them. A few of the tokens are from Car Wash establishments, possibly indicating their place of employment in the U.S.

Dinosaur Sketch

Dinosaur Sketch

This sketchbook, belonging to a migrant child held mostly drawings relating to his or her family and other experiences.

Horse Sketch

Horse Sketch

This notebook belonged to a migrant which holds a number of sketches along with miscellaneous notes and information. Personal belongings considered non-essential are discarded during the first stages of processing.

Pink Monkey Buddy

Pink Monkey Buddy

This particular stuffed animal toy has velcro hands and feet which are designed so they can attach to a person's neck, arm or leg. Items considered non-essential personal property are discarded during intake.

Curious George

Curious George

Sometimes migrants will carry an item that is intended to be given as a gift: this stuffed toy was virtually "new". All personal property considered non-essential is discarded during intake.

Hog Dog

Hog Dog

This stuffed animal toy, slightly soiled in the mid-section, may have been used to lay one's head down during rest while crossing the desert. All personal property considered non-essential is discarded during intake.

Toy Car Pile-up

Toy Car Pile-up

Migrants will carry personal items that are mementos or gifts to a loved one when they reach their intended destination. Personal property considered non-essential is discarded during intake.

Blankets

Blankets

Blankets are used for shelter and protection when traveling across the desert, especially during winter months when temperatures easily drop below freezing. Durable and well-made they, are generally considered non-essential personal property and discarded.

Polo  Shirts

Polo Shirts

Migrants generally carry additional clothing when crossing the desert so they will have something clean to change into when they arrive. Considered non-essential personal property, extra clothing is often discarded during intake.

Blood Donor

Blood Donor

About four percent of the U.S. population donates blood. Proof of citizenship is not required when giving blood.

Candy Target

Candy Target

A discarded cardboard shooting target overlaid with various candies and throat lozenges. All food carried by migrants is considered contraband and discarded during intake.

Sin Ti No Soy Nada

Sin Ti No Soy Nada

Food items such as these suckers are convenient to carry and provide a quick source of energy.

Music Collection

Music Collection

This diverse collection of music along with a couple of DVD's was considered non-essential personal property and was either discarded or lost during intake and processing. The music primarily consists of early 60's pop through contemporary rhythm and blues and hip hop.

Gloves

Gloves

Different gloves for different reasons. The desert and mountain terrain along the U.S./Mexico border varies greatly with brush and other abrasive plants; during winter months temperatures easily drop below freezing. Drug smugglers handle bales of marijuana often covered in rough burlap material and twine. All gloves are considered non-essential personal property and discarded.

Work Glove (Right)

Work Glove (Right)

Many migrants who do not have legal status in the U.S. find employment in the construction industry. Personal property considered non-essential is discarded during intake.

Quinceñeara Glove (Left)

Quinceñeara Glove (Left)

Quinceañera is a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday in many parts of Latin America and elsewhere in communities of people with latin and hispanic heritage; it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. This glove was considered non-essential personal property and discarded during intake.

Threads and Needles

Threads and Needles

Clothing worn when traveling several days through the desert easily becomes severely stressed, ripped and torn; needles and thread are brought along for repair.

Flag and Migrant Blanket

Flag and Migrant Blanket

Blankets are brought along for shelter and comfort when traveling several days through the desert. Generally considered non-essential personal property, they are discarded during intake. The flag is a personal item belonging to the artist.

Virgen de Guadalupe

Virgen de Guadalupe

Virgen de Guadalupe is a revered entity within the Catholic faith, particularly in latin and hispanic culture. Migrants will carry religious objects such as bibles, rosaries and votive candles to give them guidance on their journey north. Personal property such as these figurines are generally considered non-essential, potentially lethal and discarded during intake.