Between 11- and 20-million undocumented immigrants live in the United States today, fueling a national fury over citizenship and immigration policy. Many of these are people who are deeply embedded in our communities, yet who have often been painted with one brush as “drug smugglers, human smugglers, gang members and child molesters” (Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce). Because they cannot come forward to defend themselves, their true identities as people remain in the shadows. These images were made inside the homes of undocumented residents in New England, with the goal of using the texture of their living spaces to make visible these human beings, and to provide a window into the very personal paths they have chosen.
MARY BETH MEEHAN is a photographer and educator who creates meaningful, in-depth portraits of her own communities. Her work addresses issues of immigration, culture, and change, and the emotional charge surrounding them. Her goal is to use her work to create connections among people, and to inspire an empathy that transcends economics, politics, and race. Meehan’s photographic projects have been published worldwide, and have resulted in many exhibitions, including a large-scale photographic installation in her hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, entitled “City of Champions.” She is based in Providence, and teaches Documentary Photography at MassArt.