Fabio Bucciarelli: The Border Wall

Fabio Bucciarelli’s coverage of migrants at the southern U.S. border is the first place winner in the series category of the 2019 Focus on the Story Awards. Bucciarelli is an award-winning photographer and author known for his documentation of conflicts and humanitarian consequences of war. In the last decade he has covered extensively the major world changing events in Middle East, Africa and Europe.  His documentary work has been recognized with the most prestigious awards in the profession, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, World Press Photo, Prix Bayeux-Calvados, Pictures of The Year and Days Japan International between others. Fabio’s images are frequently published in international magazines and newspapers and his images are exhibited, with solo and group exhibitions, in museum and galleries worldwide and his artworks appears in several collections. He is based in Turin, Italy.

From his submission: “Thousands of migrants have arrived at the US-Mexico border city of Tijuana after traveling more than 4,000km from their home countries in Central America. Most of them are fleeing persecution, poverty and violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador and are looking for a safer and better life in the United States. For Central American migrants who want to apply for the asylum and enter legally in the USA, requests through the official port of entry are processed slowly and only a few per day, as authorities tighten up asylum rules. Migrants may face a long permanence in Mexico. Moreover, Tijuana was rated (by Mexican think tank Seguridad Justicia y Paz) as the fifth most violent city in the world in 2017, with a higher murder rate than the Central American cities from which the migrants are escaping. All this make things complicated for Central American migrants, and many of them decide to cross illegally the US-Mexico wall and apply for asylum as soon as handed themselves into Border Patrol agents (USBP) – a legal practice that, in recent years, had become common among Central American asylum seekers. US President Donald Trump has lashed out at the migrants, calling them an “invasion”, which he said threatened to “overrun” the US. He sent troops to the border, authorized the use of force and threatened to shut down the frontier if the migrant caravans are not stopped. He issued an order denying the possibility of asylum to migrants crossing the southern border illegally – but that order has since been halted by a US federal judge.”

Images © Fabio Bucciarelli. You can see more of his work on his website.

The US-Mexico border wall on the sunset at Tijuana's beach of December 10, 2018, Mexico. On the American side, a US Border Patrol (USBP) car lights up the wall to avoid Central American migrants trying to cross the border.
Central American migrants, mostly coming from Honduras, cross the US-Mexico border wall to seek asylum from American authorities. Tijuana, Mexico, December 12, 2018 © Fabio Bucciarelli
An Honduran woman lies on the ground - in US territory - after being injured as she crossed over the border wall between Mexico and the United States near Tijuana's beach, Mexico, on December 12, 2018. Once in the US territory she is immediately taken into custody by US Border Patrol (USBP) agents. Illegal crossing of the border wall has become a common practice as official asylum applications through port of entry require long waiting process.
US Border Police (USBP) agents standing at San Diego's beach in front of the border wall which devides Mexican territory from American one, on December 14, Mexico, 2018.
Honduran migrant group seeks the best spot to illegally cross the Mexico-US border wall near Tijuana's Beach, Mexico, December 13, 2018. According to the numbers released by US Custom and Border Protection during the month of November, 51,856 undocumented migrants were apprehended by Border Patrol agents between ports of entry along the southwest border, 25,172 of whom were caught crossing the border with a family member. The numbers are significantly higher than those reported during the same period of time last year, when a total of 29,085 people were apprehended along the southwest border.
Fergie (9) from Guatemala cries in fright as she, her mother and fellow migrants try to cross the border wall between Mexico and the United States near Tijuana's beach, Mexico, on December 12, 2018. The Trump controversial policy created thousands of cases of family separations between children and their parents: more than 2,500 children were separated from their parents at the border in the past several months amid a zero-tolerance policy on people entering the US illegally.
Fabiola (23), Xinia (19) and his son Kevin (19), and Ashley (7) stand on the Mexican side of border wall at 'Canyon del Matadero' between Tijuana and its beach, Mexico on December 1, 2018. The group, all from Honduras, have crossed illegally into US from a border wall hole. Once have reached the American territory, they have been threatened by USBP (US Border Patrol) agents so they decided to go back to Mexico.
A Central America migrant woman hugs her child at San Diego's beach, after crossing the Mexico-US border wall at Tijuana Beach, Mexico, December 14, 2018.