In Deported: An American Division, Rachel Woolf’s poignant photographs chronicle the deportation of Lourdes Salazar Bautista, a domestic laborer who lived in the United States for 20 years. After receiving her deportation order in August 2017, Lourdes returned to Mexico with her two younger children, Bryan and Lourdes (Lulys). In Mexico they were reunited with Luis, Lourdes’ husband and the children’s father, who was deported in 2010. Lulys has since returned from a year in Mexico to continue her education in the United States with her sister Pamela, who chose to stay in Michigan.
Thousands of families have been torn apart as a result of United States immigration policy. Rachel’s project documents the emotional toll of deportation and traces the struggle of one family to remain connected despite their prolonged separation. Through her photojournalistic work, Rachel shines a light on individuals and situations that may otherwise be overlooked. In making our shared humanity visible, her intimate photographs elicit an emotional response and effect change.