Behind the Cover: America’s Undocumented Immigrants

©TIME-Photograph by Gian Paul Lozza for TIME
©TIME-Photograph by Gian Paul Lozza for TIME
The June 25, 2012 cover of TIME Magazine. Gian Paul Lozza photographed journalist Jose Antonio Vargas and 35 other undocumented immigrants.

In Spring 2010, four undocumented students trekked 1,500 miles from Miami to Washington to press passage of the Dream Act, a bill that would offer a path to permanent residency for immigrants who came to the country as minors and achieved certain educational accomplishments. Moved by their courage, Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist who was part of the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize winning team for their coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting, revealed that he, too, was an undocumented immigrant in an essay published by the New York Times Magazine last June.

A year later, Vargas finds that immigration in America has seen little progress, as he writes in this week’s TIME cover story. On the cover, photographed by Gian Paul Lozza, Vargas stands before 35 other undocumented immigrants living across the country. “They’re living in America—but only in the shadows,” Lozza says. “They’re very much in the dark.”

It was important for TIME’s photo editors to show just how many cultures are represented by America’s undocumented immigrants. “They come from so many different countries, religions and backgrounds,” Lozza says. “We wanted to bring that diversity to the light. This is not just a problem for Latinos, as we hear about often, but for every culture from around the world.”

It was a poignant topic for Swiss-born Lozza. “For me it was fun to see how motivated the kids were, and how much they wanted to learn,” he says. “They have dreams of being teachers, doctors, lawyers—it was fascinating that they all want to do something for other people.”

Read more on Jose Antonio Vargas in this week’s issue of TIME.

Gian Paul Lozza is a photographer based in Zurich. See more of his work here.

Related Topics: , , , , ,

Latest Posts

Hidden Islam, Nicolò Degiorgis

Hidden Islam: Nicolo Degiorgis Charts the Challenges of Being Muslim in Italy

In Hidden Islam, a new award-winning photobook by Italian photographer Nicolo Degiorgis, Islamic makeshift places of worship are revealed

Read More
The Ebola Crisis, Gulu, Uganda, 2000

Picturing Ebola: Photographers Chase an Invisible Killer

HONDURAS - IMMIGRATION

Immigration Crisis: Photographing the Violence Behind the Honduras Exodus