Pedro Cruz in his bodega in Sunset Park, New York City, in April 2016. Cruz benefited from the amnesty bill signed by Ronald Reagan in 1986. His daughter is a social worker and his son is a policeman. “Mexicans are not what Donald Trump says. We are workers. As long as it is work, we do whatever it takes,” Cruz said. (Sofía Muñoz Boullosa)
Walking in the Sunset Park neighborhood of New York City, Sofía Muñoz Boullosa heard Pedro Cruz ask her to take his picture. “He was surprised when I spoke to him in Spanish,” says Muñoz Boullosa, who is blond and also from Mexico. They spoke of New York and family and culture. Immigration was already the subject Munoz had chosen for her thesis project at the International Center of Photography, where she was studying to earn her degree in photography. That day, the germ of an idea appeared. The name Pedro is a common name in Mexican culture. What if she searched the city looking for men named Pedro? What would she find?
She found a common culture but a world of difference in personalities and stories. First, she found Pedro the ballet dancer through Internet research. Then she found Pedro the architect. Every weekend she walked through neighborhoods heavily populated with Spanish-speaking people, asking if anyone knew a person named Pedro. Soon, Muñoz Boullosa knew a small population of men named Pedro. “They were eager to show how they are working and trying to make a better life. I think, like me, they want to stand up for Mexico.”
“Some of them are far from making their goals,” continued Muñoz Boullosa, “but almost all of them absolutely know what they want to be.”
Pedro Ramírez, 34, inside the restaurant Casa Mezcal in New York City. “We come here to support our families and to work towards a better life,” said Ramírez who is the youngest of six brothers and sisters. In 2011, Ramírez went back to Puebla, Mexico, to take care of his diabetic mother for a time. He is studying to be a boxing trainer. (Sofía Muñoz Boullosa) Pedro Ceñal Murga, 28, on the steps of Low Memorial Library at Columbia University. After he earned his master’s degree in architecture, Ceñal Murga is working in New York before he returns to Mexico to start his own business. (Sofía Muñoz Boullosa) Pedro Guillermo Curiel stands inside a deli in New York City where he has been working for 11 years. He plays soccer every Sunday in Flushing, Queens. (Sofía Muñoz Boullosa) Pedro Rodrigo González, 24, practices ballet in his kitchen in West New York, N.J. González, who also blogs about fashion and design, moved to New York City in 2011 as a member of the American Ballet Theater. “When I think of Mexico, political issues come to mind inevitably, although I do not like talking about them.” (Sofía Muñoz Boullosa) Pedro Reyes stands on sacks of flour in Los Tulipanes bakery in Mexico City. Reyes’s dream is to start a new life in the United States. (Sofía Muñoz Boullosa) Pedro Ruiz, 28, holds a red snapper in the Sea & Sea Fish Market in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Ruiz is from Puebla, Mexico, and he has not been home in 10 years. His favorite way to cook this fish is from Veracruz, Mexico, with cinnamon, olives, capers and serrano peppers. (Sofía Muñoz Boullosa)