Seized Belongings of Migrants

You’ve no doubt read about the awful practice of separating children from their parents at the US/Mexico border, something put in place by the Trump Administration, and an example of the needless cruelty of this racist regime.  In a separate but related post by The New Yorker, they focus on the seized belongings of migrants crossing the border, documenting the scale and scope of the human impact.  Tom Kiefer, a Customs and Border Protection janitor began taking items out of the trash years back, not knowing what he was going to do with them, but knowing their was a project there somewhere. His collections have become “El Sueño Americano”, or The American Dream, a photographic look at some of the mundane, familiar, and relatable items that customs seizes from migrants trying to cross the border.

A collection of seized wallets.

Water jugs covered in cloth.

Rolls of toilet paper.

Colorful plastic bags to carry belongings.

Hundreds and hundreds of tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes.

Cans of tuna, a good source of protein when crossing the desert. 

A collection of seized rosaries. 

Bundles of clothing.


An enormous roll of belts.

Piles of shoes.

Sticks of deodorant, lighters, and cigarettes.