Award-winning Getty Images photojournalist John Moore has covered the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and, closer to home, the effects of the US economic and housing crises. But these days his work on immigration is receiving the most attention, with recent coverage in The Atlantic and The New York Times.

Why immigration; why now?

With immigration reform such a top story, I’ve spent much of this year following immigration and border security issues in the U.S., Mexico and Guatemala. I am doing this project in both still photos and video, which I believe helps me tell the story in a more thorough way, and which I hope will benefit our clients as well, who are using so much multimedia online.

I’ve photographed immigrants along the Mexico-Guatemala border who face incredible danger riding atop freight trains. I’ve also been multiple times to the Texas-Mexico border and several weeks in Arizona, both with the U.S. Border Patrol and with undocumented immigrants imprisoned and, in some cases, deported. In Colorado, I spent time with immigrants working in construction and followed a health organization that brings medical care to immigrants who have no health insurance. In New York I photographed Americans who are just now going through the naturalization process, and those photos are very joyous.

In Texas, I went with a team of forensic anthropologists from Baylor University, who are exhuming the remains of immigrants who died in Brooks County, Texas, while making the crossing from Mexico. They are using the DNA from the remains to try to reconnect families with their deceased relatives.

What have you learned?

You can see that people are still willing to take incredible risks to live and work in the USA. And oftentimes, especially in Texas, people have made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to benefit their families. In 2012, 129 deaths were recorded in one Texas county alone – Brooks County -- immigrants who died making their way across the Rio Grande, through Texas. It’s as extraordinary as it is heartbreaking.

Hopefully these pictures will help Americans understand the complexities of immigration and U.S. border security -- as well as the urgent need to reform our country's very broken immigration policies.

  • 163192131. NOGALES, MEXICO - MARCH 05: Former undocumented immigrant Arturo Santana sits in front of his modest home at the Tirabichi garbage dump on March 5, 2013 in Nogales, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • 163368332. NOGALES, AZ - MARCH 08: The U.S.-Mexico border fence stretches into the countryside on March 8, 2013 near Nogales, Arizona. U.S. Border Patrol agents in Nogales say they have seen a spike in immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico in the last week. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • 166402891. LA JOYA, TX - APRIL 10: U.S. Border Patrol agent Sal De Leon stands near a section of the U.S.- Mexico border fence while stopping on patrol on April 10, 2013 in La Joya, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • 169198937. FALFURRIAS, TX - MAY 21: A forensic anthropology team from Baylor University place the remains of unidentified immigrants exhumed from a cemetery on May 21, 2013 in Falfurrias, Texas. Teams from Baylor University and the University of Indianapolis are exhuming the bodies of more than 50 immigrants who died, mostly from heat exhaustion, while crossing illegally from Mexico into the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • 175273210. TALISMAN, MEXICO - AUGUST 01: An Indigenous family walks from Guatemala into Mexico after illegally crossing the border at the Suchiate River on August 1, 2013 in Talisman, Mexico. They passed directly under a bridge with a Mexican immigration checkpoint. Thousands of Central Americans pass illegally into Mexico daily, many on the first leg of their long and perilous journey north towards the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • CIUDAD HIDALGO, MEXICO - AUGUST 02: People cross the Suchiate River from Guatemala into Mexico on August 2, 2013 in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, Mexico. Thousands of undocumeted Central Americans pass illegally into Mexico, many of them immigrants on the first leg of their long and perilous journey north to the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • ARRIAGA, MEXICO - AUGUST 04: Central American migrants climb atop a freight train headed north early on August 4, 2013 in Arriaga, Mexico. Thousands of immigrants ride atop the trains, known as 'la bestia,' or the beast, during their long and perilous journey through Mexico to the U.S. border. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • ARRIAGA, MEXICO - AUGUST 04: Central American migrants stand atop a freight train headed north early on August 4, 2013 in Arriaga, Mexico. Thousands of immigrants ride atop the trains, known as 'la bestia,' or the beast, during their long and perilous journey through Mexico to the U.S. border. Many of the immigrants are robbed or assaulted by gangs who control the train tops, while others fall asleep and tumble down, losing limbs or perishing under the wheels of the trains. Only a fraction of the immigrants who start the journey will arrive safely on their first attempt to illegally enter the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • ARRIAGA, MEXICO - AUGUST 04: A Nicaraguan immigrant wears a plastic bag during a thunderstorm before climbing atop a freight train headed north early on August 4, 2013 in Arriaga, Mexico. Thousands of migrants ride atop the trains, known as 'la bestia,' or the beast, during their long and perilous journey through Mexico to the U.S. border. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • IXTEPEC, MEXICO - AUGUST 06: Central American immigrants arrive on top of a freight train for a stop on August 6, 2013 in Ixtepec, Mexico. Thousands of Central American migrants ride the trains, known as 'la bestia', or the beast, during their long and perilous journey north through Mexico to reach the United States border. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • 175685233. IXTEPEC, MEXICO - AUGUST 05: Costa Rican immigrant Julio, 40, spends an evening at the Hermanos en el Camino immigrant shelter on August 5, 2013 in Ixtepec, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • 175276245. TAPACHULA, MEXICO - JULY 31: Undocumented Guatemalan immigrant Elvira Lopez, 22, stands on crutches at the Jesus el Buen Pastor shelter on July 31, 2013 in Tapachula, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • 162201592. NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: First grader Angelica Kudsi, 7, born in the Philippines, waits for her American citizenship certificate at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), office on February 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • 162201631. NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Neswima Akter, 9, who immigrated with her parents from Bangladesh to Brooklyn, awaits her American citizenship certificate at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), office on February 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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  • 164615686. NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: U.S. Marine LCP. Torffic Hassan, 26, an immigrant from Ghana, stands for a portrait before being naturalized as an American Citizen on March 22, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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