Deported From the US • Michael Christopher Brown • Magnum Photos

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Politics

Deported From the US

Michael Christopher Brown photographs a young man deported back to Honduras from Kansas

Michael Christopher Brown

Michael Christopher Brown Kelvin Villanueva on his grandmother's street. Honduras. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Kelvin Villanueva on a school bus that his family uses as a church shuttle. Hondurus. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown San Pedro Sula, Honduras. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown A homicide scene. San Pedro Sula, Honduras. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Kelvin Villanueva and an interpreter during a call with Villanueva's immigration lawyer in Kansas City. Honduras. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Many homes in the affluent parts of the city make use of security measures like tall barriers, cameras and razor wire. San Pedro Sula, Honduras. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Bayron and Belky Cardona owned a business in San Pedro Sula but closed it and fled after receiving death threats from the MS-13 gang. San Pedro Sula, Honduras. October 14, 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Kelvin Villanueva with his grandmother, who raised him, in his uncle's church. Honduras. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Villanueva visits his father Javier's house. Javier and his girlfriend raise rats as pets however they eventually plan to sell them. San Pedro Sula, Honduras. October 15, 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Honduras. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Kelvin Villaneueva inside his aunt's home. Honduras. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Kelvin Villanueva on his aunt's property. San Pedro Sula, Honduras. 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos
Michael Christopher Brown Kelvin Villanueva's cousins, Aunt and Grandmother outside his Aunt's home. San Pedro Sula, Honduras. October 13, 2015. © Michael Christopher Brown | Magnum Photos

Kelvin Villanueva had spent 15 years living and working in Kansas City before being detained by US authorities. After being transferred between detention centers, he was deported to his home country of Honduras. Magnum’s Michael Christopher Brown found Villanueva living back in his home town of San Pedro Sula, which is plagued by gang violence. The photo-essay above represents vignettes of Villanueva’s day-to-day experience adjusting to his new old life in a city that has had the highest murder rate in the world for the last four years.

Reflecting onKelvin Villanueva, Michael Christopher Brown said:

“His life is difficult especially compared with what he had in the USA. In Honduras he basically shares a shack with his extended family, in a neighborhood that is patrolled by gangs and his safety is only ensured when he doesn’t venture far from home. He has no money, he risks being recruited by gangs (MS-13, Barrio 18, for example) who patrol the surrounding neighborhoods and is really only ‘safe’ on the alley leading up to his home. But really, nowhere is safe in San Pedro Sulas. If ‘they’ want to get to you, they’ll get to you.

He seemed to just be waiting it out, waiting for another chance to escape to the USA. I recently returned from Cuba, where there is a saying: “The only business in Cuba is how to get to the United States.” This rings true for many countries, including Honduras.”