El Sueño Americano by Tom Kiefer


Exhibition catalog from the El Sueño Americano exhibition in Gallery 4 of photographs by Tom Kiefer of the personal belongings of migrants discarded by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

8.5 x 11 inches


28 pages


In stock


There is something inherently disturbing behind many of the images presented in El Sueño Americano that defies logical and rational explanation: Why was all this thrown away?

Working as a janitor from July 2003 until August 2014, I was greatly disturbed by the volume of food, clothing and personal belongings thrown away at a single U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility. For many of those years I was allowed to collect and deliver to our community food bank the food items carried by migrants that was discarded during the first stages of Border Patrol processing. The supervisor at the food bank who managed the program estimated the total amount of disposed items brought in was well over sixty tons.

How we treat others is a reflection of who we are. When belts, shoelaces, toothbrushes, socks, shoes, underwear, pants, shirts, keys, jackets, watches, bibles, wallets, coins, cell phones,  jewelry, pre-paid telephone calling-cards, water, food, soap, deodorant, gloves, medicine, birth control pills, blankets and rosaries are considered non-essential personal property and discarded, regardless of their quantity and origin, their disposal becomes an act of dehumanization.

Additional information

Weight 0.5 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 12 × 0.25 in