2001 Photo Contest, World Press Photo of the Year

Lara Jo Regan

for Life

03 December, 2000

The Sanchez family at home in a Texas colonia. Ms Sanchez, an immigrant from Mexico, makes papier-mâché piñatas (decorative candy containers) to help support herself and her children.

Colonias are informal settlements along the US border with Mexico. The highest concentration is in Texas, with others in New Mexico, Arizona and California. People living in colonias lack access to basic services such as clean drinking water, electricity and waste management, and often live in extreme poverty. Ms Sanchez's family numbers among the millions of Americans uncounted by the national census. Officially, they do not exist in the population records that determine not only Texas’ political representation in the United States Congress, but also where new schools, hospitals, firehouses and critical social services are needed.

Partly because of this photo raising awareness of her story, Ms Sanchez has now been able to become a US citizen.

About the photographer

Lara Jo Regan

Lara Jo Regan (Philadelphia, 1962) took up photography as a teenager, taking photographs for the school paper and her local newspapers. At the University of Colorado, Boulder, sh...

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