Immigration. What do we really know about immigrants as people - especially the obstacles they face and the hazards they must endure to reach the United States? No one wants to examine this terrible situation, and the press tries to ignore it. John Annerino is a brave photojournalist who wants to open the eyes of this country and the eyes of Mexico. In Annerino's book, DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS: Crossing America's Desert Borderlands, he writes of crossing the Arizona desert along the historic route called the Camino del Diablo, (Road of the Devil), during the summer. Annerino accompanied 4 Mexican farm workers on a grueling struggle across the desert to get into this country. Annerino risked his own life to experience the killing heat migrants endure to cross the desert, and at one point writes of his and his companion's slim chances of surviving their journey, "We would all die like dogs in a killing ground that has claimed hundreds - perhaps thousands of their countrymen." Annerino not only witnesses and endures the hazards and rigors of his companions, but he also photographed many of the people who died in the middle of the desert. He writes graphically of one dead man: "His mouth was still open from the horror, because no one heard him gasping or saw him dying at the finish line to America's Killing Ground." How long will we permit this tragic situation to continue? One brave man cared enough for people to risk his own life to open our eyes with his camera and pen - John Annerino. And you need to read his book, DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS, to understand the human toll and suffering on our borders, and the lives that are lost among those who flee the poverty of Mexico lured by the same American Dream that brought me here. Why? To quote Annerino, "Because they're out there dying right now."
The author has walked a mile in the other man's shoes to tell the story of the many honest migrant workers who defy death by crossing the U.S.-Mexico border during the searing summer season for below poverty line wages to work in the vegetable fields of the U.S.'s Southwest. He also tells the story of several law enforcement officers who risk their own lives to prevent them from doing so. The text is accompanied at the most precisely dramatic moments by stunning, shocking photographs that are made all the more poignant by the deserved homage paid by the author to the human beings who have lost their lives in an ironic attempt to improve them.