Featuring: Verónica G. Cárdenas
Presented by:United Photo Industries EMERGI-CUBE Program
James Estrin and David Gonzalez, Co-Editors of the New York Times Lens Blog
These are the last few days that a group of trans women and unaccompanied minors from the migrant caravan lived in Tijuana as they attempted to seek asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in California. The night before they went to the border, the shelter where they had been staying was broken into via the second story. They said that the neighbors would harass them, sometimes throwing rocks at them.
The following day, they began getting ready to seek asylum with dignity, looking their best. Hours later, the group was turned away by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. A neighbor, according to the person in charge of the shelter, tried burning it saying, “This is what happens to you for hosting faggots.”
Days later they were placed at the top of a list of more than 800 people waiting to seek asylum. They were processed after they proved their lives were in danger for being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. They spent their last days together relaxing in a house, not knowing that those remaining moments of freedom would be the last for Roxsana Hernández, a trans woman that died weeks later under ICE custody.
Verónica G. Cárdenas is a documentary photographer based in the southernmost region in Texas known as the Rio Grande Valley, or The Valley. This is a place that could be seen as neither the U.S. nor México, but something in between, which also perfectly describes some aspects of Cárdenas’ identity.
Migration issues are a recurring theme that she explores. Her work has been shown at the United Nations, exhibited at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, (UTRGV), South Texas College, San Benito Museum, The Weslaco Museum, Festival of International Books and Arts, FESTIBA, among others. She is an International Women’s Media Foundation fellow, and an Eddie Adams XXXI alumni.