Border Stories: A Conversation with Tom Kiefer, Francisco Cantú, Dora Rodriguez, and Javier Zamora, Moderated by Margaret Regan

January 15, 2021 
Live Stream Gallery Talk 6:00pm MST

Etherton Gallery Hosts Border Stories: 

A Conversation with Tom Kiefer, Francisco Cantú, Dora Rodriguez, and Javier Zamora

Moderated by Margaret Regan


Etherton Gallery is pleased to invite you to Border Stories, a live stream conversation about the border held in conjunction with the gallery’s current show El Sueño on January 15, 2021 at 6pm MST.


El Sueño features photographs by Tom Kiefer, who worked as a part-time janitor at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. Kiefer retrieved, archived, and photographed the personal belongings of people apprehended in the desert by U.S. Border Patrol agents, which were later discarded while they were “processed” at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in southern Arizona.


Conversation Participants include: Tom Kiefer, Francisco Cantú, author of The Line Becomes a River, and former Border Patrol Agent; Dora Rodriguez, migrants rights advocate and founder of Salvavision, and survivor of a tragic event in Ajo, Arizona in 1980; Javier Zamora, poet and author of Unaccompanied; and Margaret Regan, conversation moderator, journalist and author of two books on immigration: The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands and Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire.


The event will be streamed live on Instagram. Follow our Instagram account for updates. Please join us for a lively discussion and a 10 minute Q & A session at the end.


For more information about Border Stories please contact Etherton Gallery at or (520) 624-7370.


To see more of Tom Kiefer’s work, visit:

Facebook: ethertongallery

Twitter: @ethertongallery

Instagram: @ethertongallery



Born in Wichita, Kansas, Tom Kiefer was raised primarily in the Seattle area and worked in Los Angeles as a graphic designer. Kiefer moved to Ajo, Arizona in December 2001 to fully develop and concentrate his efforts in studying and photographing the urban and rural landscape and the related cultural infrastructure. Kiefer’s first project Journey West Exhibit (2001-2011), was created during his process of discovering and documenting the natural and man-made landscape between towns and cities in his adopted state of Arizona. Kiefer’s current project, El Sueño Americano – The American Dream (2007-present), features the personal effects and belongings of people apprehended in the desert by U.S. Border Patrol agents that were confiscated and subsequently discarded as they were processed at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in southern Arizona. These personal effects and belongings represented their choice of what was essential for them to bring as they crossed the border to start or continue their life in the U.S. Kiefer continues to document the vast archive of personal belongings that he recovered between 2007 through August 2014 and produce prints for display to foster community dialogue surrounding the state of migration and the millions of undocumented and essential workers living in a state of fear of our government. Kiefer lives and works in Ajo, Arizona, about 40 miles north of the US-Mexico border.


Francisco Cantú is a writer, translator, and the author of The Line Becomes a River, winner of the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. A former Fulbright fellow, he has been the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Award, and an Art for Justice fellowship. His writing and translations have been featured in The New Yorker, Best American Essays, Harper’s, and VQR, as well as on This American Life. A lifelong resident of the Southwest, he now lives in Tucson, where he teaches writing and works to support incarcerated migrants through correspondence and accompaniment programs.


Dora Rodriguez is a migrants rights advocate and a survivor from the1980 tragedy in Ajo, AZ, where a group of Salvadoreans fled a civil war in their home country El Salvador and in result 13 died (including 3 minors). This led to Dora being one of the first people that the sanctuary movement in Tucson, AZ assisted due to this tragedy. Dora currently resides in Tucson, AZ with her husband and is a mother of 5 children and three grandchildren. Today she is the Director of the non-profit Salvavision Rescue Arizona, an organization that provides aid and support, to asylum seekers and detainees in Arizona and border towns, and also returnees in El Salvador.


Javier Zamora was born in El Salvador and migrated to the US when he was nine. He was a 2018-2019 Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard and has been granted fellowships from Colgate University, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, the Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, among others. Unaccompanied, Copper Canyon Press Sept. 2017, is his first collection. He lives in Tucson, Arizona where he’s finishing his memoir. More info at:


Margaret Regan: A longtime journalist in Tucson, Margaret Regan regularly writes for the Tucson Weekly, where she has won many journalism prizes for her reporting on the arts and immigration. She has written two books on immigration, both published by Beacon Press. “Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire” looks at the fate of undocumented immigrants who are arrested long after they’ve established lives and families in the United States. “The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands” investigates the tragedy of migrant deaths in the desert.  Her reporting for these books took her into the desert wilderness, traveling with activists and Border Patrol alike, and inside immigration detention centers in the U.S. and migrant shelters in Mexico. Both books were named Top Picks in the Southwest Books of the Year competitions; they have been used in university classrooms around the country.  Margaret Regan has also published work in The Boston Globe, The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, the Washington Post and other outlets, and she reports regularly on the arts for the Buckmaster Show on KVOI AM 1030. Recently, she served as Writer in Residence in the Pima County Public Library system.