From the Border to Your Local County Detention Center

A 5-part photo essay series by Peg Hunter


The U.S. District Court in Tucson is one of several courts along the border where the U.S. government’s Operation Streamline operates. Through Operation Streamline, up to 70 border crossers are shackled at the ankles, waist and wrists, led into the courtroom en masse, charged, and then sentenced in a single hearing that lasts under 2 hours.

Court appointed lawyers have 20–30 minutes to get to know their clients prior to this courtroom appearance, not enough time to understand the complexities of an individual’s situation.


With the U.S. District Court — Tucson in the background, participants in the 2017 Border Encuentro display flags from their home countries


In January of this year, charges were filed at the U.S. District Court in Tucson against 9 volunteers with the humanitarian group No More Deaths. The mission of this group is to prevent immigrant deaths in the Arizona desert.

Eight humanitarian workers were charged with misdemeanors related to leaving water in the desert. One (Scott Warren) was charged with a felony for “harboring” 2 people in the U.S. illegally by providing food, water, a bed and clean clothes. The current trial date for Scott Warren is September 11, 2018. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison.


147 Deaths | 122 Unknown | 25 Identified — (Number of bodies recovered in Arizona from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017 based on Information from the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office)

Peg Hunter is a freelance documentary photographer focusing on immigration, social justice, climate justice, and the health of communities and the planet. Her home base is the San Francisco Bay Area.

Her photography has been published in Yes! Magazine, SF Examiner, Common Dreams, Truthout, Grist, Food and Water Watch and Earth Island Journal.