Francisco Duran rides in the backseat of his parents’ car on their way to work, washing new vehicles on car lots. Francisco has lived, as an undocumented person in Phoenix, Arizona since the age of 3.
Arizona is leading the United States into harsh immigration policies. SB 1070 makes it a crime to be in the states illegally. According to law enforcement agents, if they jugde to have "reasonable cause", they are entitled to determine an individual's immigration status.
Army vehicles parked in-front of "Tent City," a detention center for undocumented immigrants, are used by sheriff Joe Arpaio and his forces to patrol the streets of Phoenix. "We're looking for anybody who violates the law," he said. "If we find any illegal aliens, they are going to be arrested."
Francisco scans the street from his window before stepping out to drive his mother to English class. He just blasted a post to his Facebook friends, warning of a Sheriff’s deputy on 35th and Grand Street, just a few blocks from his home on Phoenix’s west side. “Everywhere that us undocumented people go, we have the thought in back of our mind that we might get deported if we are stopped,” he said.
Amy Thompson has been a Sheriff in Phoenix for two years. Sheriff’s deputies have the duty to call immigration control when there is suspicion that someone is an undocumented immigrant.
Together, on most days, Francisco and his family wash around 500 cars. Among the 3 of them they make $300. Though he wanted to continue his education after high school he could not afford the out-of-state tuition fees applied to undocumented people.
Francisco keeps his high school graduating cap and gown folded in a box. He graduated with high honors, but cannot afford a college education. “I honestly feel like I’m a nobody."
Francisco holds onto a toy for his 5-month-old baby, Javier. His girlfriend sits at his side. Since the birth of his son, Francisco is not politically active within the immigrant community of Phoenix.
Francisco visits with his girlfriend, Yesenia and son Javier after work. While their parents attend church nearby, they walk to Circle K for a soda.
Daniela Cruz moved with her mother to Phoenix from Mexico two days before her 11th birthday. She has since lived as an undocumented person. "We need to come together, we need be one and prove to people that we are equal," she said. In 2010 she began to get involved in the passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
Daniela sits at a community gathering where many undocumented people discuss the personal impact of U.S. immigration policies. A woman behind Daniela speaks about her car being impounded after a routine police stop.
Daniela views a video of a recent protest where she was arrested for civil disobedience. She chanted, "no papers, no fear," until she was arrested. Without giving into pressure to sign off her deportation, she was released the next day. Her court case is set for later this year. “If you organize your community, people don’t have to get deported, families don’t have to be separated.”
On the 10th anniversary of living in the states, Daniela drives herself to the Phoenix Court after being arrested for civil disobedience earlier in the year. A tassel, celebrating her 2009 graduation from high school, hangs inside her car.
Francisco watches on as his nephew dives into the pool. Born in Arizona, his nephew is a citizen of the United States, but says half of him is Mexican.
Inside a democratic headquarters where Daniela volunteers are reminders of American Presidents. Deportations have steadily increased under the Obama administration, with approximately 387,000 immigrants deported in 2010, according to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security. This number is an 8% increase in the number of deportations in 2008, and a 20% increased from 2007, under the Bush administration.
Daniela signs paperwork that will confirm the court hearing for her recent arrest for civil disobedience.
As part of their student government responsibilities, Carina Montes, left, and her sister Isle, right, work the snack bar at the Trevor G. Browne High School gymnasium. They are two of an estimated 1.7 million undocumented youth living in the United States.