Forensic anthropologist Kate Spradley holds the shirt of a deceased Salvadoran migrant. The shirt’s discovery set off a chain of events that ended with the successful but rare DNA confirmation of a migrant who perished in Texas after crossing the U.S.- Mexico border. (Lorne Matalon)
A version of this two-part story aired on the Texas Standard, KUT Austin
SAN MARCOS, Texas — Brooks County, Texas, — 70 miles north of the United States-Mexico border — has seen at least 365 migrant deaths since 2011.
Forensic anthropologists in Texas and Arizona are working to identify these migrants and repatriate their remains.
Behind an electronic gate accessed by a key card on a bucolic farm in central Texas, 100 cadavers donated for research by U.S. citizens lie on the ground in different stages of decomposition.
Mexico has ordered its consulates to issue birth certificates to its citizens living illegally in the United States.
The move follows President Barack Obama’s executive action granting temporary reprieve from deportation to several million undocumented Mexicans.
Herlinda Lujan with her Mexican birth certificate at the Mexico Consulate at Presidio, Texas. In a major policy shift, Mexican consulates are issuing birth certificates to its citizens living in the United States regardless of their U.S. immigration status. (Lorne Matalon)
Mexican officials say they wants to help undocumented migrants apply for a variety of programs, including immigration applications, triggered by Obama’s decision. And those programs require identification, starting with a birth certificate.
“Amigos, guajiros y borrachos” (Friends, farmers & drunkards) 2010
Oil & acrylic on canvas, 47” x 39"
The Obama administration is easing restrictions on visas issued to Cuban artists who refuse to defect or renounce their loyalty to the Cuban Revolution. The World’s Lorne Matalon profiles two artists who’ve come to the US from Cuba because of this opening.
Mexico is experiencing a horrifying wave of violence. So it’s not surprising that the religious cult, Santa Muerte – or the Saint of Death – has gained a following. Narration and all photos by Lorne Matalon.
20-year-old Nicaraguan Josue Holguin Artica inside a safe house called
“Casa de Migrantes.” He’s been hiding out here for a month with other migrants from Guatemala.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon is in the United States this week. His trip comes at a delicate moment. U.S. presidential contenders are calibrating their positions on illegal immigration. Calderon accuses the candidates of using Mexican migrants as “symbolic hostages.” He condemns the persecution of Mexicans here. But some accuse Calderon of being hypocritical. They say the way Mexico treats Central American immigrants is nothing to be proud of either.