An American Division/A Family Divided

About the Project

Rachel Woolf’s project Deported: An American Division began in late July 2017 when she met Lourdes Salazar Bautista days before her deportation hearing in Detroit. Bautista had been living in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the past 20 years along with her children Pamela, Bryan, and Lourdes who were all born in the United States. Though the family was hopeful that Bautista would be granted permission to stay in the U.S., it was determined at her hearing that she would be deported. Bautista, along with her two younger children, left for Mexico soon after the hearing in August 2017.

“Sometimes I can’t find the adequate words to explain to my kids that there’s no reason why they have to pay for their parents, being that they are citizens and they have the right to be in [the U.S.],” Bautista said. “They want to return to their schools with the lives they had in the U.S., since it is what they know.”

“Lourdes and her family welcomed me into their lives during an unimaginably difficult time. I documented the complexities of their story to humanize those affected by deportation and immigration practices. Countless families are in the same situation, experiencing this harsh reality,” said Woolf of her experience with the Quintana-Salazar family. Through Woolf’s focus on Lourdes Salazar Bautista and her children, we can better understand the nuance of deportation and the impact it has on families and their communities. Woolf is continuing to update her story on the Quintana-Salazar family and provide an intimate glimpse into what life after deportation is like for families who are forcibly removed from the United States and sent to countries that are at once strange and familiar. As Woolf said, this situation is not unique to the Quintana-Salazar family, and this exhibit offers a look into the personal impacts of the U.S. immigration system and process. 

Rachel continued her initial project documenting the Quintana-Salazar family through a second iteration of this work titled, Deported: A Family Divided.

about the artist

Rachel Woolf is a Denver-based independent visual journalist and photographer.

artist discussion

On September 30th, 2022, ART WORKS Projects board member Iván Arenas spoke with 2018 Emerging Lens Fellow Rachel Woolf in a virtual panel about the continuation of her project Deported: An American Division. 

Deported: An American Division – How a Story Unfolds panel discussion (35 min.)

Public Program

On April 24th, 2023 ART WORKS Projects and photographer, Rachel Woolf, presented at the OneState Conference in Springfield, IL. Woolf discussed her work with the Quintana-Salazar family and how it relates to larger conversations about centering lived experiences in the arts.

Rachel Woolf speaks about her work at the OneState Conference in April 2023

Emerging Lens Project

Deported was completed with support from the Emerging Lens fellowship.

Emerging Lens is ART WORKS Projects’ signature program that awards project support, unrestricted grants, and mentorship to emerging photographers working to document social justice and human rights issues in their own backyards and around the world.

bring this exhibit to you

All of our exhibitions are designed to tour and can be adapted to a broad spectrum of venue types and sizes.

We are happy to provide step-by-step support for hosting this exhibit.

Contact us to learn more about bringing this exhibit to your community.

Springfield, IL installation of Deported: An American Division/A Family Divided

resources & tools

Learn more about this issue and the ways that you can stay informed and get involved.

Recent News

February 2023: U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed a new rule that could take effect in May after the expiration of Title 42 that would deny asylum to anyone who entered the country illegally

October 2022: U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new measure that would deny Venezuelans the right to asylum in the U.S. unless they have a sponsor who can financially support them. 

The National Immigrant Justice Center

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) provides resources to stay informed, donate to their programs, and get involved with NIJC’s work.

Hope Border Institute

Hope Border Institute’s Border Refugee Assistance Fund supports the initiatives and shelters providing for the immediate humanitarian needs of migrants in Ciudad Juárez.


According to the Immigrant Learning Center

  • There are about 44 million immigrants in the United States
  • In 2019, 48% of undocumented immigrants were from Mexico

support for this project


Deported: An American Division is produced in partnership with:

  • The National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
  • Fourth Presbyterian Church
  • City of Chicago: Office of New Americans
  • Latinos Progresando
  • Erie Neighborhood House


Deported: An American Division is generously supported in part by:

  • The Henry Nias Foundation
  • The Friedman Law Group. Ltd.