Crisis at the Border

Social Impact / Book / Data Visualization
Spring 2019

︎ Translating an episode of Fresh Air  (“The Ongoing Crisis at the U.S.-Mexico Border”)  into a book, emphasizing stark accounts of child separation, photos, and childrens drawings. 


︎ Project context

In June of 2018, media outlets were flooded with stark headlines about separated migrant children waiting in cages at detention centers lining the U.S.-Mexico border. News coverage, public outcry, and relief efforts soared that summer, images of scared children and desolate detention centers flashing across the nightly news. Apallingly, even though public awareness has slowly disappated, the human rights crisis at the border is ongoing and as urgent as ever.

︎ My design challenge

This project seeks to answer:

︎ How can we have ongoing conversation around the U.S.-Mexico border conditions & family separation without sensationalizing migrant experiences?

︎ How can we understand these conditions as systemic and ongoing, but also immediate and urgent?

︎ My concept

Throughout the project, I wanted to juxtapose the colder, less personal logistics of immigration policy with the urgent, stark experiences at the border. The main content I used, an episode of Fresh Air, focused on the colder, intellectual details of this ongoing crisis: to continue this tone, yet make the information more digestible, I paired the text with big pull-quotes and black & white data.

To break out of this “coldness” and add urgency back into the tone, I interrupted the text with written experiences, drawings, and photos of migrants at the border. These were distinguished with bright orange paper to further signal their gravity. In making this content and design distinction, I hoped to signal at the slow, seemingly hopeless pace of policy change while also combatting desensitization.

︎ My content

“The Ongoing Crisis at the U.S.-Mexico Border,” Dave Davies with Caitlin Dickerson, Fresh Air    
︎ Listen here

“‘They’re Screaming for Help.’ See Drawings from Children Stuck in Mexico as They Seek U.S. Asylum,” Jasmine Aguilera, TIME
︎ Read here

Data from PEW Research Center, American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. Department of Justice

Images from NY Times, USA Today, REUTERS, Getty Images, VOX

Typefaces include Inconsolata by Raph Levien, Bureau Grot by David Berlow, and Le Monde Journal by Jean François Porchez

︎        ︎

Site Last Updated: 01-03-2022