Since October, almost 700,000 people have been detained crossing the border from Mexico into the US, a huge jump on previous years.
The large number of new arrivals has proven to be a polarising issue. Democrats have cited the separation of migrant families and the “ticking time bomb” of poor conditions in detention centres. Republicans have demanded funding to tighten security on the border.
The reasons people give for trying to reach the US are varied – family, better economic opportunity, or the chance to escape the threat of violence.
Here, we have focused on the story of one woman, Maria, who represents many of those seeking to make the journey. In her case, like many others, she has made the decision to flee violence in El Salvador.
Maria is fictional. But everything that happens to her here is based on the real experiences of migrants who have travelled to America, experiences that have been documented by rights groups, journalists and lawyers.
See for yourself the decisions and dangers a migrant like Maria may face.