Migrant Agricultural Workers
Of The Rio Grande Valley (Called Rio Bravo in Mexico)

In 1975 three farmworkers were shot while picketing for higher wages. The field manager that shot them was not indicted. While in the Rio Grande Valley protesting this incident, I met Jesus Moya, field organizer for the Texas Farm Workers Union.

During the next fifteen years, Jesus and I traveled throughout Northern Mexico and Texas, documenting the living and working conditions of farm laborers. We encountered farm workers who were virtual prisoners of packing shed owners, living in compounds behind barbed wire and cyclone fences. After traveling hundreds of miles to find work that did not exist, many migrants could not afford gasoline to drive home again.

The United Farm Workers (UFW) introduced me to the living conditions found in Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley. Today, just north of the 1,248 mile border between Texas and Mexico, approximately half of a million people live in over 1,500 communities (colonias) that lack running water, electricity, sewage or trash pickup.

The following photographs were taken between 1972 and 1988 and include images from Mexico and Texas as well as one from California.