Alaska Immigrants' Stories Told in Photos, Illustrations
One side argues that illegal immigrants are criminals and should be treated as such, and the other insists that illegal immigrants are everyday people who deserve the same rights as citizens.
It’s the story of Alaska's immigrants that's being told in a very unique way.
Photos and illustrations have sparked a conversation about a controversial issue that is affecting Alaskans.
Through art and narration, these portraits are a voice for those who live in the Anchorage community in fear.
“Many people are living in the shadows,” said Arthur Sosa, vice president of the Alaska Immigration Justice Project.
It’s the story about Alaska's immigrants and “you can be talking about people who have overstayed their visa, people who came over without documentation to begin with,” said Sosa.
But because of immigration documentation laws, families from all over the world who have made America their home would be required to return back to where they came from. It’s an issue that has families in fear of being split up.
“A younger sibling who might have [been] brought over here at the age of one or two [and] have no idea of their native country, yet are living here and are facing that [deportation],” Sosa continued.
That’s why these portraits are being displayed—to get people talking.
“Just imagine a parent leaving their child for an unknown period of time hoping they get allowed back in the country…The choice is stay here and be with your family and hope somebody in Congress is paying attention,” said Robin Bronen, executive director of the Alaska Immigration Justice Project.
It’s an issue that has divided the country. One side argues that illegal immigrants are criminals and should be treated as such, and the other insists that illegal immigrants are everyday people who deserve the same rights as citizens.
“This is about our community. There aren't different parts of our community that deserve any more or any less access to services, medical care, police protection,” said Bronen.
“People don't carry around a badge saying ‘I'm here illegally, or undocumented.’ They're our neighbors, they're our friends, they are people you wouldn't suspect…people who blend in the community, but yet have to live in that constant fear,” said Sosa.
Ten percent of Anchorage residents are immigrants and that is the reason why the Alaska Immigration Justice Project and others put together the stories of real families who have no realistic legal options.
The display of portraits is currently being shown at the Z.J. Loussac Public Library through May 27.