From Dreams to Trash: ‘El Sueño Americano’ (photos)

Billfolds and WalletsThese photographs document the personal effects of migrants apprehended in the desert by U.S. Border Patrol agents which were subsequently seized and surrendered during processing at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility in southern Arizona.

Feature Shoot reports:

It started with toothbrushes. Arizona-based photographer Thomas Kiefer had been working part-time as a janitor at the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in Ajo, some 40 miles from the Mexican border, for several years when he acted on his impulse to salvage — and to catalog — some of the hundreds of personal items thrown away in the facility.


Black Combs and Brushes

Polo Shirts

Trail Markers


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All photos are © Thomas Kiefer/INSTITUTE