The objects rejected by 'the American Dream'


There are the obvious objects (toothbrush and toothpaste, soaps, chocolates, gloves) and other more unusual ones (rubber ducks and sewing reels), but all were confiscated under the same circumstances, either at a customs office or by the border patrol of the United States of America. Thousands of immigrants (legal and illegal) arrive annually at Ajo, which borders the state of Arizona, in the search for the' American Dream'. Thomas Kiefer, who worked as a customs officer for a number of years, decided to collect all the objects that the North American authorities confiscated from the immigrants. Considered as non-essentials, these objects were collected and discarded. Not even food got through. The photographer began by recovering food from the containers and donating it to institutions nearby. Then the brushes both toothbrushes and hairbrushes, followed as well as clothes and purses, which Kiefer organised, catalogued and photographed for his 'The American Dream' project. 'These belongings represented, to each and every individual, what was important when crossing the border, either whether it was to start anew or to continue their life in the United States', explained the photographer on his webpage. 

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