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Living in Limbo: Portraits from the Border

Bill McLaughlin | New York, Mexico

Ruth, El Salvador

In December of 2019 I traveled to the border city of Tijuana, Mexico. My goal was to make portraits of the migrants and asylum seekers that had been stranded due to the abrupt change in U.S. immigration policy informally known as “Remain in Mexico”.

I wanted to make portraits that would tell a more honest and humanitarian story, to make portraits with dignity and respect. My hope was that bringing these images back from the border and exhibiting them in large format in galleries and public spaces would help de-otherize these people who have risked so much and have come so far.

Sadly, two years since my initial visit, they are still waiting. They wait on politicians. They wait on a deadly pandemic. They wait on diminishing resources and yet more charity. They wait while growing extremes of indifference and animosity further endangers them. They wait as their children grow older in shelters. I continue to exhibit these portraits and have several exhibits planned for 2022.


Bill McLaughlin


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