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The Los Angeles Times profiled a US/Mexico border rancher today on the top of the front page. I know the man well.
Close to 20 yrs ago I became somewhat obsessed as a photojournalist with the US/Mexico border. Much of that was because of the work done by LA Times photographer Don Bartletti, now a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist. After spending time along the border in San Diego I noticed a new migrant trend and followed my instinct by heading nearly 100 miles east into the rugged mountains dotted by small towns and fiercely independent people. What I subsequently discovered was a world where people like Robert Maupin, the subject of today’s LA Time’s feature, were being overwhelmed in sheer numbers by undocumented immigrants crossing their border properties. After a while, Bob Maupin let me start to document his own border patrol. The numbers have changed, but a recent trip back to do some more shooting revealed that Bob still patrols and repairs his cut fence.
I worked on this personal project for over a year and the NY Times Sunday Magazine eventually published a three page spread. After that, many media outlets contacted Bob and requested interviews to profile his personal border patrol. Is it vigilantism? .
Will the migrant trend come full circle now that Arizona is cracking down even more fiercely with controversial laws and National Guard troops? Time will tell, but one thing is for certain. Bob is always armed.
Speaking of Arizona. Their latest attempt at driving undocumented immigrants out of the state is to pursue a new law that strips American citizenship from anyone born in Arizona to undocumented immigrants. What’s the problem with such a pursuit? Simply the 14th amendment clearly states “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Now the state of Arizona wants to go further and change the Constitution. After SB1070 which will result in a violation of civil rights and a ban on ethnic studies in the state’s schools, it should come as no surprise that Arizona want’s to rewrite the US Constitution. Good luck………