|One of the Blade’s Michael K. Lavers’ images from the border|
by Fred Kuhr
The Washington Blade continues to be the highest profile LGBTQ news outlet covering the plight of Latin American immigrants as Michael K. Lavers, the newspaper’s international news editor, returned to the U.S.-Mexico border over the summer.
Lavers spoke with a number of activists and immigrants, including Héctor Ruiz of the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, Imelda Maynard of Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico and Paola Fernández of the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee. Lavers also interviewed a gay Ugandan man who recently won asylum in the U.S., Nathan Craig and Margaret Brown Vega of Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention (AVID) in the Chihuahuan Desert, and Ryan Steinmetz of PFLAG Las Cruces Rainbow Refugee Project in Las Cruces, N.M.
Lavers also traveled to El Paso, Texas, and its sister city Ciudad Juárez, which is just across the Rio Grande in Mexico. That trip was prescient as it was only two weeks before a white supremacists drove from Dallas to a Walmart Supercenter in El Paso to kill 22 people and injure two dozen others.
During an interview with Lavers in Guatemala City, Guatemalan Congressman-elect Aldo Dávila “sharply criticized his country’s government over its decision to sign a ‘safe third country’ agreement with the White House that requires migrants who pass through Guatemala on their way to the U.S. to first seek asylum in the country.”
Since January, the Blade has reported from California’s Imperial Valley; Arizona, New Mexico; Mexico City; Mexico’s Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua and Chiapas states; Guatemala; El Salvador and Honduras.
Along the way, Lavers has photographed people and places that illustrate the political battle underway. These photos include Guatemala’s Dávila protesting outside that country’s presidential palace, a transgender woman from El Salvador living at a shelter in Ciudad Juárez, a sign in an El Paso Walmart advertising that it is investing in “American” jobs, and a mug with a gun handle for sale in Abilene, Texas, a sign that gun culture is alive and well there.
To see a gallery of Lavers’ photos, go to https://www.washingtonblade.com/2019/08/06/photos-washington-blade-returns-to-us-mexico-border-central-america/
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