Steven St. John January 9, 2009Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Guatemala, United States.
Tags: United States
Repeat offenders, Columbus New Mexico
Steven St. John (b. 1977) worked as an assistant picture editor and staff photographer at his home town newspaper, The Albuquerque Tribune until it ceased publication in 2008. His work has been recognized multiple times by such organizations as the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International, the Associated Press, and the Scripps Journalism Awards. In July of 2008, he moved to Guatemala to study Spanish while pursuing personal projects and freelance opportunities in Latin America. His Spanish is OK, but he misses New Mexico green chile and his mom.
About the Photograph:
“This photo comes from a reportage I worked on about the situation along the U.S.-Mexican border. The processing station in Columbus is really just a double-wide trailer in the desert, it’s most prominent feature the enormous framed American flag. I had photographed larger groups of immigrants in the area, but came back later to find this Guatemalan mother and her 10-year-old daughter sitting alone awaiting processing. Border patrol officials classified them as repeat offender OTM’s (other than Mexican) after they were caught trying to cross for the second time. When the reporter I worked with on the series, told me that they were from Guatemala, I tried to connect with them up saying I had visited their country. The mothers response was that so many people travel to her county, she didn’t understand why she isn’t allowed into mine. Now, just a few years later, I’m living in Guatemala documenting the conditions of poverty that they were trying to flee.”