No Country May Claim Us is an exhibit that shows the experience of asylum seekers at the US/Mexico border —many of who came from Central America in the wave of caravans of the past two years— through the lenses of 14 documentary photographers and one filmmaker.
The 50 images and documentary film piece, all organized chronologically, offer a firsthand look into the recent displacement of Central American people; the militarization of the border, and immigration deterrence tactics used by the United States.
Hoping to show the effects of migratory persecution by both the US and Mexican government, the exhibit offers viewers an opportunity to empathize with those in exodus. The images tell the stories of the human condition under these circumstances. Their stories come from Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, and all over the world.
The first image starts on the journey north with hundreds of asylum seekers forming a caravan and leaving Honduras in early October 2018. Our photographers follow them through their arrival to the border city of Tijuana, where on November 25 of that year, Customs and Border Patrol agents on the US side of the border shot teargas at refugees in Mexico.
Images depict refugees’ lives inside Tijuana’s migrant shelters as they wait, trapped in a migratory purgatory, unable to return to their countries of origin, and unable to enter the US as a consequence of the Migrant Protection Protocol (Remain in Mexico Program).
The images compiled in No Country May Claim Us, show us the resilience and dignity of asylum seekers whose future in the US is uncertain, and provide us a snapshot of what migration is like for people of color in the modern age.
On display at Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco. M-F, 9AM-5:30PM.
Jenn Budd, a former senior patrol agent for the US Border Patrol, met with us earlier this month.
Jenn’s life as a border patrol agent turned around completely when she began to speak out at Campo BP Station regarding the drug smuggling operation that her boss organized. She found herself alone, at 3AM, in a hail of gunfire after being commanded to patrol the area where she had seen drugs coming in. The occurrence of this gunfire and her orders to be there lead to her being offered a higher position at sector headquarters, in exchange for her silence.
She turned her badge and weapon in the next day. “You have to sell your soul at one point to just do the job.”
Today, her life consists of speaking out against those agencies that have harmed asylum seekers/migrants/immigrants, speaking out against an administration that has created a crisis via policies, volunteering at a shelter in San Diego, writing for Souther Border Community Coalition, and an ambassadorship for Define American (a “nonprofit media and culture organization that uses the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America.”) The full interview we have with her is a developing video piece.
On January 1st, 2019, SB 1421 went into effect. On paper, it was supposed to “lift the veil of secrecy” on police misconduct records that included sexual assault, lying during an investigation, falsification of reports, shootings, use of force, in-custody deaths, and other forms of misconduct. These kinds of records have already been public for years in many other states.
In application, this was met with pushback from police & sheriff unions across California. They tried to argue that the law should only be applicable to records made after the law went into effect, they tried to argue that police officers have “special vested secrecy rights in California that could never be taken away”, there were other arguments but judges struck them down.
Santa Ana Police Department tried to destroy the records, but a petition we organized and received support from the ACLU, media organizations, and community members sent a clear message to the department.
On April 23rd, the 90th day of the Santa Ana Police Department’s 90-day extension (used to process the record request), they let me know that they needed 120 more days.
Today, we became the first ones to review records that have undergone the required redaction process.
This post is about the small victories.
Here’s a selfie I took in Tijuana the day US CBP agents shot tear gas at everyone in proximity.