Shortly after President Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations, protests arose in airports across the country, where some travelers were being detained. Over the weekend, demonstrators with signs and lawyers offering legal advice jammed airports, while rallies and marches took place in city streets and squares. Gathered here, images from this weekend’s protests against the ban, from New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, Washington, DC, Dallas, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, and more.
“There is this whole side of immigration, detention and deportation that is not brought to the public eye,” says MacIndoe. “Everyone talks about the borders, the influx of people across the border. But there are a whole bunch of people that are getting deported who have visas, are here legally or are falling into grey areas that never get talked about.”
What MacIndoe and Stellin found is that the issue is far more complex than the border. Many individuals who get caught in the red tape of the immigration system are asylum seekers, some were brought to the United States legally as children and others hold green cards. A single misdemeanor, even a very old one, is all it can take for someone to be exiled from the United States.
“We tried to show that even when people talk about how we are deporting criminals—this is really a strong word for a lot of these situations and it gets translated through the immigration system into a much more serious crime,” says Stellin.
Take Marco for example, who had a green card and had lived in the United States since he was a baby. After a trip to France with his fiancee, a U.S. citizen, he flew back to the states and was detained in JFK airport for two misdemeanor drug possession charges that he had received as a teenager. “He had only been arrested. He never actually did time,” Stellin explains. “He didn’t even really consider it a record, or really remember it as a record.” Marco spent six month in detention before he was permanently banned from the U.S.
“It’s not just deportation. It’s exile. People can’t come back in any way, shape or form,” says MacIndoe. “It’s almost biblical in its punishment”
Twenty of these often-unseen immigration stories—families made up of mixed-status people who have been ripped apart by detention, deportation and even exile—are currently on view at Photoville at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Showing both sides of a family’s story was a crucial piece for Stellin and MacIndoe. In 2014 the duo received a fellowship from the Alicia Patterson Foundation for the work. “That really enabled us to do what we had envisioned,” says Stellin. “Show the separation by traveling abroad, interviewing and photographing the person who was deported as well as the family left behind.”