Items left at U.S.-Mexican border reveal hidden history of migration

February 3, 2012

Download Story
(Courtesy of Michael Wells/Undocumented Migration project)
Migrant belongings are clustered at this 'migrant station' along the border.

Millions have crossed the dangerous, high-security border between Mexico and the U.S. But we rarely hear about the actual, visceral experience of crossing. What do migrants bring? What do they eat and drink? How do they survive in the middle of the desert?

This curiosity is what led Jason De Leon to the border. Jason’s a professor at the University of Michigan and a trained archeologist. He collects the items migrants leave behind while crossing the border into the U.S.

His collection is now the largest body of migrant artifacts in the country, including everything from shoes to backpacks, water bottles, prayer books, love letters – you name it. Jason joins Worldview to discuss the unusual project.