“It’s different for immigrants now. There are new laws, it’s harder to get here, everything is much more expensive.”
“I’m from here, but I feel more Mexican than American. Me and my twin brother were born in Hollywood, but my parents are from Mexico, from Chihuahua; they came 25 years ago. I’m more comfortable speaking in Spanish than English. My wife is also from here, and she speaks only English — and I answer in Spanish.
“It’s different for immigrants now. There are new laws. It’s harder to get here. Everything is much more expensive. Many families don’t have any support in their countries. And then they arrive and don’t know anything. It’s not easy to get a job if you don’t have legal documents. It’s hard nowadays.”
Sam Comen is a Los Angeles–based photographer who has a seemingly insatiable curiosity about people. His work often centers on broad collections of portraits, allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusions about what it means to be a citizen or an activist. One of his recent projects, Working America, takes an inclusive look at the intersection between being an immigrant and a worker. The series, which Comen started over two years ago, draws on inspirations from the turn of the 20th century when immigrant-owned small businesses were the norm and highlights how valuable this work still is within the Los Angeles community.