A 5-year-old boy rests by the roadside with his mother as thousands of fellow migrants trudge past. A woman grips her two young daughters as they flee a cloud of tear gas. A child slithers under a fence to reach U.S. soil. A man sobs in a U.S. border patrol vehicle as his dreams of a new life are dashed.
26 Sep 2018. La Joya, United States. Reuters/Adrees Latif
Adrees Latif: "I was driving through La Joya, Texas when I came across four men who had been apprehended by Border Patrol agents for illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. The scrapes and cuts on their bodies showed the physical distress from the foot pursuit they just endured but otherwise they displayed no signs of distress or disappointment for being captured. Once in the cover of a heavy tinted Border Patrol vehicle, this man let go of his emotions and started weeping."
These are the faces of migrants whose trek from Central America to the United States has transfixed the continent since mid-October.
As they drew closer to the U.S. border with Mexico, the thousands of mostly Honduran migrants became a symbol of U.S. President Donald Trump's tough policies on immigration.
27 Oct 2018. Arriaga, Mexico. Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino
Ueslei Marcelino: "The caravan had gone through a tense night in Arriaga - the famous train "La Bestia," which many migrants use to travel north, wasn't running which frustrated their plan to shorten their journey. They continued by road and arrived at a police blockade. The migrants moved closer together to try to protect themselves as they feared the police might take action to stop the advance of the caravan. Tense moments ensued before the police allowed the migrants to pass. When I saw a van parked at the side of the road I climbed on the roof and was astonished at how many people I could see from up above."
For both the United States and Mexico, the caravan has raised hard questions about how to respond to a seemingly unending procession of migrants who say gang violence has made their countries unlivable.
5 Dec 2018. Tijuana, Mexico. Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
Alkis Konstantinidis: "I was standing beside the border wall near the beach in Tijuana when Tony Mauricio Arita and his daughter Andrea Nicole appeared. They moved silently towards a small, newly-dug hole in ground. Arita inspected the hole for a minute or so, and then instructed his daughter to cross. Andrea Nicole kneeled to check the passage and crawled through, filling her colourful clothes and sneakers with mud."
The journey, made partly on foot, is punishing. And for those who reach the Mexican border city of Tijuana, the way forward is uncertain. U.S. officials have implemented a system of "metering," which limits how many can seek asylum in Tijuana.
Some migrants scramble over the border to avoid a months-long wait, handing themselves in to authorities in the hope they will be released.
The caravan has also created an early test for new Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as he tries to establish a relationship with the Trump administration.
8 Nov 2018. Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. Reuters/Adrees Latif
Adrees Latif: "When I arrived to the scene, most of the migrants had already made it to the Mexican side of the river and were resting and drying their clothes along the bank. In the river, dozens of migrant men had locked arms to make a snake-like human cordon from the Guatemalan side to Mexico, so no-one would get swept by its powerful pull. With one camera in hand and a 35 mm lens, I broke into the cordon to photograph the last group of migrants crossing. A family that had made it to the middle of the river was handing their children to other men to help them reach the shore. As a man grabbed the boy in front of me, I followed him, photographing, as he carried him to safety. Moments later, the last set of migrants crossed, and the men who had locked hands in the cordon all swam towards Mexico and started celebrating that everyone in the caravan had made it safely. This photograph begs the question: why would a family leave home and not only risk their own lives but also the lives of their children by doing such extraordinary things? What propels someone to walk without knowing where they will next break bread or quench their thirst?."
Mexico, once the prime source of migration to the United States, now has to manage the rising flow of Central American families heading north to its own border. Lopez Obrador, who took office this month, is still weighing a U.S. proposal that would make asylum seekers wait in Mexico as their claims are decided, a process that can take years.
21 Nov 2018. Metapa, Mexico. Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
Alkis Konstantinidis: "At dawn, a group of about 400 Salvadorans crossed from Guatemala to Mexico through the Suchiate river. They had been walking for some 20 kilometres when they were surrounded by Mexican police who moved in to detain them. The mood quickly turned tense. Suddenly, a group of men formed a circle within the crowd. On the ground in the middle, a man was embracing a pregnant woman who had passed out, trying to protect her and her child until she was taken away on a stretcher."
The caravan came on the heels of another group this spring, and it is not likely to be the last. For migrants with few options, traveling in large groups is safer than making the trip alone or paying an illegal people smuggler, known as a "coyote."