Para mis abuelitos Ysabel y Glafira Madrid. 

Gracias por su sacrificio y ejemplo. 

...and for Grandpa Jay Sandberg. 

Thank you for inspiring me with your camera. 

My Mexican grandfather of Apache bloodline, Ysabel Madrid, immigrated to Palos Verdes, California in 1923 where he worked as a gardener, miner and mason worker to name just a few of his trades.

Isabel's great American Dream was realized in this land of opportunity, enabling him and his wife, Glafira Estrada, to purchase a home and raise a family in the area.

92 years after Ysabel arrived in Palos Verdes, immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America continue to make similar journeys to arrive in this land.

Green Sticks is a photo journal essay chronicling the stories and portraits of those immigrants who have made this journey in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

These are those people.

Hear Their Stories.

Reynaldo Santana - Cement Worker - Guadalajara, Mexico.

Reynaldo Santana - Cement Worker - Guadalajara, Mexico.

I arrived with my brother Hector and our family. We had nothing.
— Reynaldo
Hector Perez - Cement Worker - Guadalajara, Mexico.

Hector Perez - Cement Worker - Guadalajara, Mexico.

It’s hard work every day.
— Hector
Hector and Tomas - Construction Workers - Durango, Mexico.

Hector and Tomas - Construction Workers - Durango, Mexico.

We came here for a better life.
— Hector and Tomas
Alejandro - Welder - Mexico City, Mexico.

Alejandro - Welder - Mexico City, Mexico.

I immigrated with papers in 1983. It was easier back then. I arrived in search of a better life and I found that here.
— Alejandro
Ismael - Waste Disposal - Montecillos, El Salvador.

Ismael - Waste Disposal - Montecillos, El Salvador.

Drug cartels in my home town made it hard to live. I immigrated to Los Angeles in 1990 and have always missed working with my father in the fields back home.
— Ismael
Octavio Villanueva - Waste Disposal - Pueblo Otinapa, Durango, Mexico.

Octavio Villanueva - Waste Disposal - Pueblo Otinapa, Durango, Mexico.

In 1982 my sister and I crossed the border illegally in the trunk of a car. For three years I lived scared of being deported until I was able to become legal. Now I feel free.
— Octavio

Enrique, Fancisco "Poncho" Martinez, and Uriel Lopez - Painters - Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

Uriel Lopez - Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

Uriel Lopez - Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

Hailing from the mountains of Guatemala, Uriel Lopez is a man of few words. These words he saves to express himself in the poems he writes. He often works 7 days a week and sends money home to his 3 daughters living in Guatemala. His paint crew consists of many students from his hometown that he has mentored over the years.

Poncho walked across the Arizona desert for 3 days with nothing but water. While he felt happy to find a new life of opportunity, he was sad to leave his family behind. 

...Four years later Poncho made the same arduous journey. 

I went home to bury my father who had been murdered by delinquents. He taught me to have respect for others.
— Poncho
Juan - Fardener _ Durango, Mexico.

Juan - Fardener _ Durango, Mexico.

Life is good here. I arrived in California many years ago in search of a better life and opportunities for my family.
— Juan
Victor - Gardener - Guanajuato, Mexico.

Victor - Gardener - Guanajuato, Mexico.

Working outside is a lot of fun. I enjoy the fresh air and working with my hands.
— Victor
(L-R) Alfredo - Chihuahua, Mexico. Jose - Guerrero, Mexico. Manuel - Jalisco, Mexico. Isidro - Guadalajara, Mexico.

(L-R) Alfredo - Chihuahua, Mexico. Jose - Guerrero, Mexico. Manuel - Jalisco, Mexico. Isidro - Guadalajara, Mexico.

I crossed the Tijuana border on foot at night with a friend in 1998. I headed straight to El Monte, California where my father and brother were already living and working.
— Jose
I came across with a ‘Coyote’ the same as most. I wanted a better life.
— Isidro
Name Withheld - Mexico. 

Name Withheld - Mexico. 

Friends from Guanajuato, Jalisco and Michoacan, Mexico paint a home in Hermosa Beach, California.

Friends from Guanajuato, Jalisco and Michoacan, Mexico paint a home in Hermosa Beach, California.

We are like brothers.
— Names withheld.
"The Three Amigos," Juan Guerrera (Cabanas, El Salvador), Efrain Baos (Santo Toms, El Salvador) and Balmore Rivas (Cabanas, El Salvador), (L-R).

"The Three Amigos," Juan Guerrera (Cabanas, El Salvador), Efrain Baos (Santo Toms, El Salvador) and Balmore Rivas (Cabanas, El Salvador), (L-R).

All three friends took the same journey separated by over 30 years aboard the infamous bus, 'El Condor' from El Salvador to Guatemala. The road through Mexico to Texas was guided by a hired 'Coyote.' The three fellow countrymen say they have found a better life in America and enjoy their opportunities for work and education. 

You see thins as your move forward [in life]. Everything I have ever known, I learned through study.
— Balmore Rivas
Miguel - Mason Laborer - Mexico City, Mexico.

Miguel - Mason Laborer - Mexico City, Mexico.

I have lived in Wilmington, California for 16 years. I always joke that after walking across the desert I fell off the fence onto the [correct] side. The paramedics that arrived treated me well and carried me to the hospital. I am grateful for my work and this country.
— Miguel
Juan Miguel Angel - Waiter - Jalisco, Mexico.

Juan Miguel Angel - Waiter - Jalisco, Mexico.

My dream was to come to America and work with Arabian horses. I arrived in Simi Valley 15 years ago and have been working since my first week in the country.
— Juan Miguel
Luis - Painter - Guatemala.

Luis - Painter - Guatemala.

I arrived in 2009 and found my first job within the week through some friends I knew. I love working by the beach. It’s beautiful here.
— Luis

Cirilo Martinez (38) and his uncle Jesus Martinez (67) immigrated from Guerrero, Mexico in the spring of 2000 hungry to work and prosper. Within the week Cirilo was working alongside his uncle Jesus and two more of his uncles whom were already living and working for a small landscaping company.

He enjoys working alongside his family and is most proud of his wife and 2 young daughters. 

The best thing about this country is that there is so much work. And work is a good thing. I want to succeed in life. Education is the opportunity.
— Cirilo Martinez

Pablo Sr. was born and raised in Durango, Mexico. Born in the United States, Pablo 'Junior' is now 12 years old and works alongside his father during summer break when he is not attending school. Pablo Sr. is a proud of his son's work ethic and commitment to education. 

I know Junior will succeed in life.
— Pablo Sr.

Por La Razon o La Fuerza. 

...to be continued.