Photos Imagine Trump As An Immigrant

Photographer Veronica Gabriela Cardenas wanted somehow to tell the stories of our country’s undocumented immigrants. She wanted to humanize their experience and their anxieties in the shadows of the Donald Trump Presidency. She also didn’t want to put them in any precarious situations by revealing their identities.

One solution was to ask them to wear a Donald Trump mask to cover their faces. She chose Trump, she says, because he is “the most powerful person on Earth.”

To find her protagonists, Cardenas traveled close to home in The Rio Grande Valley, Texas, where a portion of the community is here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which gives people who came to the country as minors the chance to stay and obtain work permits.

It should be noted that although some of the people Cardenas photographed are undocumented, not all of them are. She also crossed the border to visit Reynosa in Tamaulipas, Mexico, where people who might once dreamt of pursuing a life in the United States now face an uncertain future, with fewer opportunities for their families.

The Trump mask was chosen because of its symbolic power. Cardenas does not want it to be taken lightly, and she doesn’t want to it to be used to poke fun at the President.

The mask acts in paradoxical ways; first, it makes the men and women photographed seem familiar and recognizable, and that gives them a special kind of authority. But at the very same time, it cloaks their true and individual personalities. In that way, it becomes a metaphor for the ways in which prejudice lumps people together and robs them of their individuality.

Cardenas titles the series A Trump, casting the President himself just one person in a crowd of many.

The photographer understands what’s at stake. It’s a serious subject for her, and it’s serious for the people she met along the way. A small percentage of people wanted to participate, and she respected the wishes of those who said “no.” If they said “yes,” she made sure they had no tattoos or identifying marks visible. Some feared there would be consequences.

There were a few people who were uncomfortable even being in the presence of the mask. “They didn’t want to see or touch the mask,” the photographer reports, “It is interesting how just the mask alone holds that much power.”

The photographer vividly remembers the conversation she had with one man while they were waiting at the international bridge. She approached him, and he was wary of the camera. He was sure she was being paid for the pictures, even when she explained to him this was a personal project for her. He told her, “No, no, no, no, you people only take advantage of us.”

But others had the opposite reaction and embraced the mask as a symbol of resistance and empowerment. When Cardenas approached one man with the idea, he responded, “Fuck it, I’m getting deported anyways. I’ll wear it.”

Since making the work, the photographer has had at least one friend tell her to “stay away from politics” and “respect your president.” But A Trump isn’t about disrespect; in fact, the photographer went to great lengths to execute the project in a way that was compassionate and dignified. She knows some people won’t love the work, and she can live with that.

“I wanted to give a voice to those that struggle to be heard,” she says. The concept might be unconventional, but that’s exactly what she’s done.

All images © Veronica Gabriela Cardenas

  • elliott.howard

    I was paid 104000 dollars past 12 month period by doing a web-based task and I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours each day. I tried work opportunity I found out on the net and so I am delighted that I was in a position to make such great money. It’s really newbie-friendly and therefore I am so grateful that I discovered out about it. Have a look at exactly what I do…

  • DBC

    The continuing stupidity of progressives!

  • carla.taylor

    I was paid 104000 dollars previous 12 month period by doing an online work as well as I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r quite a few hours during the day. I used job opportunity I found out over the internet and therefore I am excited that I was capable of to earn such great money. It is genuinely newbie-friendly and I’m so delighted that I discovered out about it. Go and visit exactly what I do…

  • Frederic T

    The continuing blindness of the regressives!!
    And because im stupid im gonna give u a simple explanation about the meaning of those photos. Just to help you.
    Opposite of progressive. One who is opposed to women’s rights, minority rights, universal civil rights, religious freedom, freedom of dissent, universal equality, and cares little to nothing for his fellow man.

  • I was paid 104000 bucks previous year by doing an internet based job and I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours every day. I applied job opportunity I stumbled upon on the internet and therefore I am delighted that I was manage to earn such decent cash. It’s undoubtedly newbie-friendly and therefore I am so blessed that I found out regarding it. Look into what I do…

  • I was paid 104000 dollars previous 12 months by doing an internet task as well as I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours during the day. I utilized job opportunity I found online and also I am thrilled that I was in a position to make such decent cash. It is really newbie-friendly and I’m so delighted that I discovered out about it. Have a look at exactly what I do…

  • Johnny Smoketree

    And I’m going to give you a simple explanation of the meaning of your moronic “progressive” virtue signaling: Opposite of sane, rational thought. Incapable of truly understanding anything except through the perverted lens of identity politics. Don’t worry, Frederic one day you will grow up and get a real life…well, at least that is what we’re all hoping for despite the fact you’re incapable, childish, and categorically stupid. Oh, and about these photos: They suck. My 7 year old could come up with a better narrative and produce better shots with her pinhole camera.

  • Frederic T

    Well i guess your child has more IQ then you so there is hope. Dont be too harsh with her though if u dont understand her arty vision later in life.
    BTW its ironic Johnny how u could just re-read what you wrote me and probably apply those same words to yourself. Time will tell. Peace out.

  • Johnny Smoketree

    Sorry, Freddy, my IQ far exceeds yours (as do my academic and professional credentials) so you’re not off to a winning start with your attempts at insults. You’re simply a moron who is blinded by identity politics; powerless against the wrong direction your life has taken and consumed by your own narcissism to know any better. Sad, really. Don’t be a victim, Freddy. Pull yourself together, “man”.

  • Frederic T

    Yeah sure, it clearly shows that you are PhD DNA stuff. Beside Trumps has more academics and professional credentials that you’ll ever have and its suppose to impress me !? Im not even talking IQ here…
    You should indeed meet a real man it seems that it would do you much good where it hurts.
    Finally do get over it, stop being such a evil keyboard big baby, people dont like whiners. Take care XXX.

  • Johnny Smoketree

    Spoken like a true moron–who’s also a broke-ass artist making inane comments about crap photos. “Trumps has more”? What in the world are you babbling about? And you’re a real man? (More likely an effeminate white, gender-confused clown.) You’ve just showed your hand, moron. Put down your vape pen, crawl back in your hole and get some rest. Your shift thawing Filet-of-Fish patties is starting soon.

  • Frederic T

    3 days later gosh you sure took your time to write such a Pulitzer, i’m impress Smoke-a-ham.
    Friend you seem to have mommy issue(s) and i cant help you with that. Advice? Be a man and seek the help of a professional Dr Phil from your hood in Trolling, Middle-of-Nowhere, MAGA.
    Oh and before i go, books (not comics) with more words then “moron” might be a plus for your exceeding IQ double life profile, you should try it someday. There found in libraries. Finally J it was “fun” but back to reality now. Hasta la vista pendejo.??

  • Johnny Smoketree

    You see, Freddy boy you’re projecting again. There’s a wide margin between us: Me, upper class, wealthy, highly-educated, great life. You, lower class dealing with the after effects of your women’s studies degree which includes your insufferable student loan debt, feeling sorry for yourself because of your lack of direction, on-going need to self-medicate, and, last but not least, that horrible 5 am opening shift at Caribou coffee you so loathe. Good luck, young buck sitting and waiting for the government to bail you out of your misery.

  • DBC

    Twinky Fred,
    Stupid and challenged, on that we agree!

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