Matt Black on photographing the lives of undocumented farmworkers
The White House has made clear its intention to reduce the presence of immigrants in America — drastically limiting the number of refugees who can settle here, limiting legal immigration, ending temporary protected status for communities displaced by wars and natural disasters, stepping up efforts to find and deport undocumented immigrants without criminal records, searching for naturalized citizens whose citizenship might be revoked, and seizing young children from both legal and undocumented immigrant families at the border and locking them up hundreds of miles from their parents, with no evident plan to return them. It is against this backdrop that we bring you an issue with two features that reveal the shocks and aftershocks of these decisions. Our contributing writer Lizzie Presser takes you inside an underground network of women who are opening their homes to undocumented victims of domestic violence at a time when many women believe that calling the police is too dangerous. And photographer Matt Black, a lifelong resident of California’s agricultural Central Valley, examines this turbulent year in the lives of farmworkers in a sweeping photo essay — with reporting and an introduction by the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Diana Marcum, another Central Valley local. I spoke to Matt about his photography and this moment.