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Rio Suchiate
People cross into Mexico on rafts across the Rio Suchiate. It costs 20 pesos, about $1 USD, to cross.
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Map
This shows the distance between some cities. Belen Shelter, Tapachula, Chiapas.
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Bedroom
Three young men, all of them former gang members, shared this room. Oaxaca, Oaxaca
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Chapel
This room served as a chapel, dorm and community space in Hermanos en el Camino shelter, Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
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Checkers
With not a lot to do, people became excellent at checkers.
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Laundry Day
Laundry is washed by hand in small sinks and then hung on nearby lines. Hermanos en el Camino, Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
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Man and Cross
Hermanos en el Camino, Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
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Kids Playing Checkers
Hermanos en el Camino, Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
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Man Outside Dorm
Hermanos en el Camino, Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
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Woman and Baby
Hermanos en el Camino, Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
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Long Way to Go.
Hermanos en el Camino, Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
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Maria Estella and Her Children
The family owned a fruit stand in El Salvador. Mara Salvatrucha demanded 25 colones in "renta": extortion. They earned about 30 colones a week and had to flee when they could no longer pay.
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Alán Cristóbal and Sandra
They fled Salvador after being threatened by Mara Salvatrucha. They didn't have the money--about $2--to pay for a raft, so they swam across when the river was deep and the current swift. It took 15 or 20 minutes. Sandra was pregnant at the time. With twins.
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Felix Antonio
MS-13 killed his mother ("Only God knows why," he said) and sliced his neck.
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Buen Pastor Shelter, Tapachula
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Juan Alberto and Chara
The family fled Honduras after Mara Salvatrucha killed a son and grandson.
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Juan Alberto and Santos Ermilia
This is the kitchen of their mostly empty apartment in Tapachula, Chiapas.
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Fredi
Like many young men, Fredi, from El Salvador, works, although he's not supposed to. He earns 150 pesos a day, about $8 USD, hauling fruit in a market.
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Tattoos
This young man was a Mara Salvatrucha member who wanted to get out. He covered his gang tattoos with other tattoos. Leaving a gang is basically a death sentence and any gang member can kill him with impunity. As he told me, "Ex-gang members do not exist."
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Margarita
Margarita fled Honduras because gang members "bothered" her.

Central American Migration, 2016

I spent seven weeks in southern Mexico between June and July, 2016 to continue investigating Central American migration through that country. Like 2015, very few people were riding the freight trains they call La Bestia, instead walking or taking buses or vans. There was one big change from previous years I was documenting this phenomenon: more people were seeking asylum in Mexico because the journey continues to be dangerous and getting into the US increasingly difficult. The numbers aren't huge--about 10,000 Central Americans applied for asylum in 2016 while about 500,000 crossed into Mexico "irregularly." Although Mexico is increasingly seen as a country of destination, refugees face few, if any, job options that pay well; a new culture; and prejudice. But, as one young man told me, "I'd rather be hungry here than dead there (in Honduras)."