The stuff we carry around in our bags, purses and pockets when we leave the house says a lot about who we are, where we come from, and our standing in society.
So imagine what all the stuff carried by immigrants says about them, their bags full of typical travel supplies plus all the prized possessions they've brought with them to start their new lives.
These possessions are then unceremoniously tossed in the trash when the immigrant is detained by the U.S. Border Patrol, the story of an immigrant's journey tossed like used tissue.
Photographer Thomas Kiefer used to work as a janitor at the U.S. Customs office in Ajo, Arizona, whre he saw all of the "non-essential" items carried by illegal immigrants thrown away like trash.
Thomas felt it was a shame that those items were tossed out in such a way, so he rescued them from the garbage and started taking pictures of the items he'd collected.
Individually the items photographed for Thomas' series El Sueno Americano don't say much, but together on the table they tell a story about individuals willing to risk it all in search of a better life.