At Wednesday night’s Republican debate, candidates had yet another chance to show who could come up with the most intolerant immigration rhetoric. Donald Trump rephrased his original inflammatory statements on Mexican immigrants by saying, “We have a lot of really bad dudes from outside,” and he suggested ending birthright citizenship for people he has repeatedly called “anchor babies.” Marco Rubio and Ben Carson promised stricter immigration control, and they said they would build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
As Republican candidates vie to out-Trump one another, it’s easy to forget the human side of the immigration debate. The items below once belonged to immigrants who died of dehydration or heat exhaustion while attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. The objects were photographed in December at the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner in Tucson, Arizona, where forensic anthropologists try to identify the deceased by studying their personal items and bodily remains. They tell stories of lives and dreams cut short, of people who combed their hair, brushed their teeth, smoked cheap cigarettes, read the Bible, and had lovers and loved ones whom they missed and who missed them.