Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Illegal Immigrants Leave Familiar Items Behind

Driving along the Mexico-U.S. border, photographer Richard Mosse noticed a rucksack sitting on the side of the road. He stopped, looked inside, and found keys, toothpaste, a card for an English language course and a Spanish language Bible. He realized they were personal effects abandoned by a woman who had crossed the border illegally.

"It's kind of a habit of mine, or a problem of mine more like, I often spot things that are not the important things. They're the kinds of things that make me ask the questions."

The abandoned rucksack raised lots of questions for Mosse, and it was the beginning of a photo project tentatively called "Nothing to Declare." Mosse walks along the border, looking for artifacts left behind when people have to drop everything and run. The images are striking: an infant's car seat, a page torn from a children's book, a bottle of water sitting alone.

You can find a link to Mosse's photographs on our blog.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information