This migrant 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 seven.
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.
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.
This small coin purse was considered non-essential personal property and discarded during intake.
Placed upon a migrants' bandana, these New Testaments were considered non-essential personal property and discarded during the initial stages of processing.
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.
Personal items such as combs, brushes and elastic hair bands are considered non-essential, potentially lethal and discarded during intake.
Personal items such as combs, brushes and mirrors are considered non-essential, potentially lethal and discarded during intake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Personal items such as nail clippers are considered potentially lethal, non-essential personal property and discarded.
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.
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.
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.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States in 1886. Using letters from dry alphabet soup carried by migrants, this is the 1903 sonnet written by Emma Lazarus engraved on a bronze plaque mounted on the pedestal of the statue welcoming all immigrants.
All food is considered contraband and discarded during intake.
Utensils used for eating food out of cans while crossing the desert are considered potentially lethal non-essential personal property and discarded during intake.
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.
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 no belt for their pants or shoelaces for their shoes.
Similar to shoelaces, belts are confiscated from migrants or those seeking asylum due to the fear that they will 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.
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.
Personal hygiene items such as soap is considered non-essential personal property and is disposed of during intake.
Personal items such as condoms are confiscated and considered non-essential property and discarded during intake.
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 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.
This sketchbook, belonging to a migrant child held mostly drawings relating to his or her family and other experiences.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About four percent of the U.S. population donates blood. Proof of citizenship is not required when giving blood.
A discarded cardboard shooting target overlaid with various candies and throat lozenges. All food carried by migrants is considered contraband and discarded during intake.
Food items such as these suckers are convenient to carry and provide a quick source of energy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clothing worn when traveling several days through the desert easily becomes severely stressed, ripped and torn; needles and thread are brought along for repair.
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 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.