Saturday, October 25, 2008


Here are just a few of the photos from the last story in the election series, on immigration. We followed one man in the middle of the deportation process, and were allowed into the jail and to the home of his family. The access was unreal. There are a few photos of family life I won't publish here until everyone is safely out of the country. The five-part series was a tremendous effort on the part of our team in the newsroom, and this story is the best of the five. We've never covered immigration like this, and Mike Morris and I had never done quite so serious a story. Working with with Mike was a real privilege-- we were a true team, reporting together and talking out all of the gray areas of this story (and there are many.) I will post the PDFs of the layout so people can get a better idea of what these images look like for our readers. Until then, it's on to football and volleyball all day long.

Through the glass of the visiting booth, Marco Vanegas tries, in the short time he has, to parent his youngest son Jesse, checking in about school work. "My sons are legal residents, and when they're older they could petition to have me stay in the country," says Vanegas. "But when do you think they need me more: now or then?"

Turning down Main Street in Jasper on route to the courthouse, Vanegas surveys the city. Away from his family for nearly four months, Vanegas has no idea when he will be deported.

His father's hat resting beside him on the bed, Jesse Vanegas, 5, has been listless all day since visiting his father in jail where he awaits deportation. "It was harder this Saturday," said Norma, "because now they say he won't be out until January."

In what has become a familiar walk, Marco Vanegas approaches a waiting car in the basement of the Dubois County Jail on his way to a court hearing. On any given day in Dubois County, an average of 15 inmates are held for deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sister Mary Judith Fleig explains the court proceedings to Norma, who grows increasingly frustrated with the protracted deportation process. Norma has difficulty understanding why the state won't simply deport her husband, so that she and her sons can follow him to Mexico, rather than wait for his sentencing to be completed.


Kankistador said...

really really nice, amanda- what a heartbreaking story...

Anonymous said...

now that is a hell of a set of images, can't wait to see the rest.

Steve Bartel said...

Great story illustrated beautifully. You've been granted extraordinary access and can't let this end when they leave. If your internship will be done by then, start researching grants now (I have a good list to get you started - email me) and follow them to Mexico. To much of a blessing to not see through.

Sheila Johnson said...

This is beautiful work, and gets its message across in an instant, hitting you in the gut with how unjust this world can be. I'm interested in exploring immigration issues here in Spain, so it's especially inspiring for me to see this story. Also, I am in the process of trying to get my papers together to live in Spain long term so that I don't run into the hassles of being an "illegal" here.... these pictures remind me that it's all for real, this deportation thing that splits families apart... and that I have to do everything within my possibilities to cover my bases. Phew!

ParkerMB said...

these are awesome. i need to look at the story more closely but im already glued by the art. i hope you are well.