Central New York artist puts dignified face on migrants in limbo

Insightful interview with an artist/photographer who took portraits with dignity in Tijuana, Mexico.

Sense of Decency

Women at the wall in Friendship Park, Tijuana, Mexico. Photo © Bill McLaughlin.

soy de aquí

y soy de allá

I didn’t build

this border

that halts me

the word fron

tera splits on my tongue

from “Where You From?” by Gina Valdés


Hope is the last thing you’d expect to find in the faces of people trapped in the border city of Tijuana. They’ve traveled from all over Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and beyond in hopes of finding a life in the promised land of the United States. They endure hardship, suffering and loss. Stuck at the border, some for months or years, they wait. And hope.

Bill McLaughlin captures that hope in a series of portraits he made late in 2019 before the Pandemic shut the border even tighter and challenged what hope the migrants and refugees still had.

McLaughlin left his home in…

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