BEHIND THE LENS: Migration, and a world on the move

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A child weeps as he is unloaded from an inflatable raft after being smuggled into the United States across the Rio Grande in Roma, Texas, on March 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

DATE: January-August 2021

PLACE: Roma, Texas; Mission, Texas; Northern Africa; Italy; Van, Turkey

PHOTOGRAPHERS: Dario Lopez-Mills; Julio Cortez; Javier Fergo; Joan Mateu Emrah Gurel


Their faces are like our faces -- hesitant, sad, expectant, wary, curious, hopeful. They are the human beings among us who are trying to get — desperate to get — somewhere else. Somewhere safer, more prosperous, more for them.

Look at the man lying on the beach of Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in northern Africa, after swimming there from Morocco. His face, at a distance, is exhausted.

Look at the group of migrants arriving at the coast of Italy after being rescued in the Mediterranean. Their eyes are filled with tentative hope and a question: What might be next for me? Look at the group of migrants pinned by a flashlight at night after being apprehended by Turkish security forces. They are less hopeful, but their question is the same: What's next?

Or take a glimpse from above at the long dirt road along the Rio Grande in Mission, Texas, where migrants walk after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

They seek what so many of us are seeking: safety. Comfort. Security. Home.



Dario Lopez-Mills, Associated Press photographer:

“After years of covering stories on migration and human trafficking along the Mexico-U.S. border, I keep thinking that any of us could potentially become migrants, refugees or asylum seekers because of natural disasters, climate change, civil war or so many other reasons.”


For a full overview of the events that shaped 2021, “A Year That Changed Us: 12 Months in 150 Photos,” a collection of AP photos and journalists’ recollections, is available now: