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Carolina Cervantes
Department: Design
Year: Senior
Class: DES 425


CII is a poem by Dulce María Loynaz that was written in 1953. This was the year the Cuban Revolution began, which caused the immigration of many people out of Cuba as they fled the political dangers of their homeland. In this current time period, topics around immigration are still prevalent issues. According to the NNIRR (National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights), “Analyses suggest that the US Border Patrol's attempts to control migration, especially through intensified militarization, have not decreased the number of migrants but instead led to an increase in the deaths of migrants.” Although international humanitarian law dictates that these bodies have to be collected and identified whenever possible, the U.S government repeatedly fails to do so. According to the Migration Data Portal, since 2014 there have also been “more than 4,000 fatalities recorded annually on migratory routes worldwide.”

The graph uploaded below shows data collected by the CIR (Comprehensive Immigration Reform), ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), and DHS (Department of Homeland Security), which are all key organizations. Although this graph is from 2011, the different numbers recorded by each organization on the same subject demonstrates the discrepancy of information due to a lack of reporting. Kate Dearden, a project officer for the Missing Migrant Project, stated that the highest total for border deaths recorded in any year since 2014 occurred in 2019, which was more than 500 on the US-Mexico border alone (The Guardian).The alarming spike of deaths occurring now indicates an urgent need for immigration reform.

With this poster, my intent is to add a layer of meaning to the poem and portray the dangerous journey that immigrants go through as they attempt to cross borders. The monarch butterfly symbolizes immigrants since they are known for migrating in groups over long distances. The butterfly silhouettes made by spraying paint represent the many lives that are lost and go unidentified each year as they migrate in the hopes of better lives but never make it.

Translation of poem by James O’Connor

My dreams are beginning to look like caged birds.
If I let them go, they come back. Or they die.
The sky is something you have to earn. So is a single grain of sand.
But the grain of sand is too small and the sky too vast. And wings,
like feet, soon grow weary.