Immigration in America was explored by 14 photojournalism students at Central Michigan University through a collection of photo stories. The project, titled "Fences: Faces of Migration," was the culmination of a two-week workshop led by world-renowned photographer Danny Wilcox Frazier.
"The debate around immigration has become embroiled in hostile political rhetoric," Frazier said. "We looked closely at how immigration policy impacts individuals. The group project brings to light issues facing the newest Americans living across Michigan and personalizes their struggles in a country divided by politics and ideology by giving faces to the faceless."
Photos from the "Fences: Faces of Migration" collection are featured in nine banners hanging outside of the Biosciences Building construction site.
Junior Clarissa Williams had found an immigrant in her hometown of Detroit and said the project gave her experience beyond photojournalism.
"Even though you hear people speak about illegally entering the country, you never really comprehend what a dangerous and terrifying experience it is," Williams said. "Seeing the residual pain and fear in their eyes as they recounted their stories to me made my heart heavy. I always understood the general motive of people who migrate illegally, but it wasn't until now that I was able to really grasp the plight that plagues those who need to migrate and only enter illegally because they are forced."
Emily Mesner, CMU photojournalism major, said this is her third time participating in the annual workshop.
"Every year after the workshop I am more passionate to tell stories," she said. "The workshop pushes me to be a better person and photojournalist. I'm not sure where I will end up or what I'll be doing after I graduate, but as long as I have my camera with me and I am telling stories I know I'll be fine."
View several of the student-created stories below and read about what they learned through the experience, both through gaining an understanding of how immigration affects people and how they gained skills in the process.