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    ‘You get mixed emotions, that they would travel so far to look for work. Hundreds of miles through perils. The fence doesn’t really stop them. As long as they think there’s employment in the United States, they will continue to do that, just like anyone trying to better themselves for a better job.’

    The United States’ border with Mexico is nearly 2000 miles long and is blocked by numerous natural and man-made barriers. Reportage Featured Contributor Charles Ommanney journeyed along the border and met the residents, border patrol agents, and immigrants who pass back and forth across it. See his film: The Fence, Part 1 on MSNBC Photos.

    Image: After walking for days a Honduran man appears overwhelmed after being caught in a drainage ditch by Border Patrol. McAllen, TX. Photo by Charles Ommanney

    After nearly a decade of drug war violence, a widespread movement of vigilante justice is sweeping across Mexico. Men and women from all over the country have taken the law into their own hands and formed citizen police, or “self-defense” groups. The movement is particularly strong in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, where poverty, narcotics trafficking, and militarization have spawned bloodshed for decades. The citizen police of Guerrero are often at odds with government and army officials for their “vigilante” activity, yet many of the groups are technically legal due to the “Usos y Costumbres” clause in the Mexican constitution which grants indigenous communities a degree of autonomy.

    See more from Mexico’s Citizen Police, by Katie Orlinsky

    Reportage photographer Katie Orlinsky recently talked to the PhotoWhoa blog about reporting on the effects of the drug war in Juarez, Mexico:

    "There was also the narrative that the Mexican government was touting to wash its hands of the war, which was that if you were killed in “la violencia” you must have done something wrong and deserved it; they were basically saying that innocent people weren’t the ones dying. This is a big fat lie and I wanted to show that. I first tried contacting relatives of the murdered a couple weeks after their death was in the newspaper. It was never successful. Then I started going to support groups for widows in churches and non-profits. I was allowed to come in at the beginning or end and briefly tell them what I was doing. I handed out my card with my number on it, allowing people to contact me as opposed to the other way around. I kept at this for a few weeks and eventually the woman in the photo’s sister called me up. Her brother had been killed at the funeral of a friend and I think allowing me to come photograph the family felt like a way of clearing her brother’s name. I would spend days at their house, and the thing that stuck me the most was how badly her son was doing. He had become a real troublemaker since his father died. It was hard to get him to eat dinner, that’s what this photo is about. But it also raises important questions, like what kind of adult will this boy grow up to be? Or even what kind of teenager? Will a gang recruit him and will he try to avenge his father’s death? How anyone could anyone possibly say there are no “innocent victims” of this war boggles my mind."

    Read more on the PhotoWhoa website. See more of Katie’s work here.

    (Photo by Katie Orlinsky/Reportage by Getty Images)

    Centaures motorcycle gang sisters #juarez #mexico Photo by Katie Orlinsky

    TIJUANA, MEXICO – A scene is filmed on the set of Baja Films’ production of ‘Narco Jr.’ Baja Films is a leading production company specializing in low budget ‘Narco films,’ which celebrate the violent culture of Mexican drug cartels. Photo by Shaul Schwarz/Reportage by Getty Images, from Narco Cultura.

    Schwarz’s documentary film Narco Cultura is now available on DVD and on iTunes.

    Photo by John Moore/Getty Images Photo by John Moore/Getty Images Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

    Slate’s photo blog, Behold, profiles Getty Images photographer John Moore and his work on immigration and border-security issues, which he has focused on since 2010.

    Moore said he approached the project with the intent of looking at the issues “in as many ways as possible.” He said he explained the point of his project to immigrant communities and those in migrant shelters around the United States as wanting to put a human face on the issue; many decided to participate. He photographed a variety of people, including older men who were recently deported after living in the United Sates for many years, Cubans seeking asylum, and transgender people. He also tried to focus on families who had assimilated into American society.

    Read more from the profile and see John’s work on Slate.com.

    At the Xcaret theme park south of Cancún a mythic Maya lord of death mingles with tourists before a spectacular re-creation of ancient pilgrimages. The annual event—complete with canoe voyage—honors Ixchel, the goddess of fertility. Such ties to the past draw visitors to the Yucatán from the rest of Mexico and abroad. Photo by Shaul Schwarz for National Geographic. Schwarz is the director of  the film Narco Cultura, opening November 22.

    Happy Day of the Dead from Reportage by Getty Images.

    With an AK-47 and a bazooka on my shoulder / Cross my path and I’ll chop your head off / We’re bloodthirsty, crazy, and we like to kill.

    So goes the song by Buknas de Culiacan, a narcorrido band documented in Shaul Schwarz's new film Narco Cultura. The music, and its glorification of Mexico’s violent drug cartels, has become a seeping cultural influence on both sides of the border - you may remember an opening sequence in the AMC series Breaking Bad that featured a narcorrido ballad to meth kingpin Heisenberg (via Mother Jones).  

    Narco Cultura opens November 22.

    Inside Mexico’s drug cartel wars, a new phenomenon is rising

    Narco Cultura, a new documentary film by Reportage photographer Shaul Schwarz, goes inside the violent cartel underworld, and explores the entertainment culture that glorifies narco-traffickers.

    The film is in theaters this fall; watch the trailer here.

    On the New York Times Lens blog, Getty photographer John Moore writes of his recent trips to Mexico and Arizona. In the former, he photographed recent deportees at the San Juan Bosco Shelter in Nogales. On the other side of the border, he photographed immigrants whose journeys to the U.S. ended at the Maricopa County Tent City jail in Phoenix. He writes:

    The immigrants who allowed me to photograph them shared stories of a hard life. Most had come to the United States to provide for their families. But even with the challenges of crossing through the desert, being caught by immigration authorities and serving time in detention, most of the immigrants told me the same thing. They will try to come back.

    See more photos and read John’s full essay on the Lens blog.

    Photos by John Moore/Getty Images

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