Since November, President Donald Trump’s bold promises about immigration and the border wall have left undocumented immigrants feeling more vulnerable, fearful, and exposed than ever before. To Trump and his supporters, this group is often solely seen as having one face, with no consideration to their individuality. They’re “bad hombres.” They’re “illegals.” They’re “rapists.”
In this two-part photo series, they do have one face: Trump’s.
These images were taken in border cities in Tamaulipas, México and in the region of South Texas known as the Rio Grande Valley. The first part presents a group of people who could become undocumented immigrants at some point in their lives due to limited economic opportunity or violence in their country.
The second part presents the undocumented population in South Texas, where fear and uncertainty is a common denominator. These include construction workers, gas station attendants, housekeepers, sex workers, and students who are, for now, protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
In this series, both groups adopt the most powerful persona in the world in order to feel more empowered themselves. Wearing the mask ensures that their identity is protected in the face of more and more national scrutiny. In each case, “undocumented immigrant” has been replaced by “Trump” to further protect their identity.
A version of this photo essay appeared on Veronica’s personal website.
This feature is part of Fusion’s project to recruit local, embedded reporters, essayists, and photographers across the country. Read more here.