Families, Fear and Clashes with the Military: The Most Powerful Photos from the Struggle Over Immigration

Immigration remains one of the most debated issues in America, including how best to handle the many people who arrive at the southern border seeking new lives in the U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to cut back on immigration and has aggressively trumpeted fears about migrants.

01 of 09

From the Other Side

US Migrant Crisis
PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty

A young boy from Mexico peers into the U.S. through a portion of the border fence in Anapra, near El Paso, Texas, on April 7, 2018.

In the days after President Donald Trump first deployed the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border last year, many in El Paso questioned the need for the increased security. Trump has long stoked fears about immigration and argued restricting migrants is a safety issue for Americans.

02 of 09

Attempted Crossings

US Migrant Crisis
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

Migrants attempting to cross the boarder were captured by U.S. Border Patrol agents and taken to Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, on June 17, 2018.

The center, the largest immigrant detention facility in the United States, has recently been critized for substandard living conditions and a lack of hygiene, according to The Texas Tribune.

03 of 09

A Family Divided and Reunited

US Migrant Crisis
Spencer Platt/Getty

Yeni Maricela Gonzalez Garcia (center) stands with her children, 6 year-old Deyuin (left), 9 year-old Jamelin (right) and 11 year-old Lester (back), after she was reunited with them at the East Harlem Cayuga Centers on July 13, 2018, in New York City.

Garcia, from Guatemala, drove cross-country to be reunited with her three children after they were taken from an Arizona immigration facility more than eight weeks earlier.

On May 19, 2018, Garcia crossed over the U.S. border with her kids but they were taken from her two days later as part of President Trump's controversial policy of removing immigrant children from their detained parents.

04 of 09

Trump Celebrates ICE

US Migrant Crisis
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty

The president (left) is seen with border agent Adrian Anzaldua during an event honoring the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection services at the White House on Aug. 20, 2018.

ICE's involvement in detaining migrants, and specifically migrant children, has led some to call for the abolition of the department.

Local law enforcement agencies have also been controversially deputized by ICE to enforce Trump policies, The Washington Post reported.

05 of 09

A Mother and Her Son

US Migrant Crisis
Mario Tama/Getty

An immigrant who identified herself as Vioney, released after spending six months in an ICE detention facility, shows a photo of her son in her hotel room before flying to be reunited with family members on Sept. 2, 2018, in Los Angeles.

Vioney, originally from Mexico, crossed the San Ysidro Port of Entry, near Tijuana, with three of her four children in February of that year. After asking U.S. authorities for asylum, she was separated from her children the same day and held in detention until Aug. 31. Her children, who are U.S. citizens, were immediately freed.

A group of mothers known as Immigrant Families Together posted her bond and she was to remain in the country with her family while her case was adjudicated.

06 of 09

A Long Journey and an Uncertain End

US Migrant Crisis
GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty

Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the U.S. rest at the main square of Pijijiapan, Mexico, on Oct. 25.

The migrant caravans became a popular topic for Trump, who repeatedly referred to them as an example of the kind of unchecked immigration he argued he was trying to stop.

Reporting about the camps, however, complicated the president's simplistic description of people who had joined in an attempt to reach America — some of whom fled violence and harsh economic conditions.

"To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing," Trump tweeted on the same day this photo was taken.

07 of 09

Troops Deployed to Stop Migrant Caravan

US Migrant Crisis
GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty

A truck carrying mostly Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the U.S. border passes by a wind farm on their way on Oct. 30.

The Pentagon deployed 5,900 active-duty troops to prevent the caravan from crossing the border, according to The New York Times.

08 of 09

Prepared for a Crisis

US Migrant Crisis
HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty

ICE and CBP agents take part in a safety drill in the Anapra area in Sunland Park, New Mexico, across from Ciudad Juarez Mexico, on Jan. 31.

Earlier in Jaunary, troops clashed with a caravan of mostly Honduran migrants, using tears gas on those throwing rocks and trying to cross, The Guardian reported.

09 of 09

Congress Questions Immigratation Officials

US Migrant Crisis
Alex Edelman/Getty

Administration officials are sworn in during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on migration on the Southern border on April 9 in Washington, D.C.

During the hearing, lawmakers questioned witnesses about child mentions, minor reunification and illegal drug seizures on the U.S.-Mexico Border.

• With reporting by AFP and GETTY

Related Articles