These 13 powerful portraits of undocumented immigrants humanize illegal immigration.

When most of us hear "illegal immigration," there's not one face that comes to mind.

Because there isn't one. Most undocumented immigrants in the United States live in the shadows to avoid deportation. Many have to spend time in "drop houses" — shady locations crammed with undocumented immigrants as they are smuggled into the country.

Whenever there's a drop house bust and local media show up, those caught coming into the country illegally are usually quick to shield their faces from the cameras. Anonymity is key, which makes this photo series that much more intriguing.


Photographer John Moore managed to put a face — a lot of faces actually — on this important issue plaguing our society.

He shot these gripping images at shelters for undocumented immigrants in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Here are 13 mesmerizing portraits of undocumented immigrants awaiting deportation.

1. Jorge, 62, is from Guatemala. He worked in the U.S. for eight months before being detained and deported.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

2. Cruz, 18, is from Sinaloa, Mexico. At the time of this photo, he was planning to cross the border illegally for the first time in a few days.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

3. Gilberto, 28, is from Chiapas, Mexico. He worked as a farm laborer in Washington state for five years before being arrested for driving without a license.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

4. Flor, 19, is also from Chiapas. She was caught in Arizona by Border Patrol agents on her first attempt to cross the border illegally.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

5. This man who chose not to give his name is from Oaxaca, Mexico. At the time of this photo, he planned to try to cross the border into the U.S. in the next few days.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

6. Silvia, 29, is from Chiapas. She was abandoned in the desert by a "coyote," or human smuggler, whom she paid to bring her into the U.S.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

7. Eduardo, 23, and Elvira, 22, are from Honduras. They both lost a leg under a freight train while trying to cross into the U.S.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

8. Daniela, 20, also from Honduras, is transgender. She's waiting for agents to process paperwork so she can be deported by bus. It's considered the safest route because of her gender orientation.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

9. Melvin, 16, is from Honduras. At the time this photo was taken, he planned to board a freight train later that night to try and find work in San Francisco.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

10. Javier, 14, is from Guatemala. He also planned to board a freight train later that night and try to make it all the way to New Jersey to find work.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

11. Consuelo, 42, and her 15-year-old daughter are from El Salvador. They've been at a shelter four months following their deportation.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

12. Carlos, 36, is from Guatemala. He also planned to hop on a freight train and try to make it to New Orleans, where he previously worked in construction.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

13. Genenis, 20, and her 25-year-old husband, Jose, are from El Salvador. They also planned to travel by freight train later that night headed to Houston.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

We can often forget that these people are human. Yes, they're breaking the law as they search for a better way of life in the U.S., but at the end of the day, they're people too. These gripping portraits are a powerful, visual reminder of that.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less