Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

At dawn, Luis Luna waits outside the warehouse where he works. His minimum wage job barely pays his rent, but it provides some stability in a country where he is locked out of most job opportunities.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna works in a used clothing warehouse in the neighborhood where he sold chocolates as a child. The owner remembered him and gave him a job.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna trades text messages to set up a basketball game after work. The cellphone was given to him by a friend after he returned penniless to Southern California.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna, right, and his close friend Julio Cortez shoot baskets at a school in South Gate, a suburb of Los Angeles. Cortez was one of several U.S.-born friends who helped Luna when he was living on the streets of Mexico.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna lives in this converted two-car garage. Comparing the studio apartment to his homeless months in Mexico. he said: "I don't have to sleep in the streets no more. I can actually close my eyes and sleep until I wake up knowing that I'm going to be alive."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna spent his childhood walking the streets of Los Angeles selling chocolates. Brought from Mexico by his mother when he was 3, he says the U.S. is the only country he knows. "I feel like an American," he says.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna takes a placement exam in an effort to earn his high school diploma. He was deported before he could graduate from high school.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Luis Luna talks to students at South Junior High School in Anaheim about his harrowing attempts to cross the Arizona desert and return home. "They told me I was ready to die. I couldn't breath. I had a blank stare. The coyote said, 'I've seen this before, he's not going to make it .' "

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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Luis Luna returned to his hometown of South Gate in May. His arms and legs were scraped raw from cactus needles and his eyes kept blinking, still starved of moisture from his eight-day journey through the Arizona desert the week before. Read Story


  1. December 27, 2012, 6:28 am

    That's too bad Luis but a lot of folks are waiting. Get in line!

  2. August 7, 2013, 9:39 am

    Great advice, Guest. Coincidentally, what's the longest you've ever waited for a place to sleep that wasn't the street?

    By: Brian
  3. January 3, 2013, 10:53 pm

    It was a great but risky journey… I wish to learn abour Luis .. is he well now?

  4. September 18, 2014, 11:17 pm

    What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions throughout .

    By: wordpress
  5. December 28, 2014, 6:27 am

    Really nice shots!!

    By: masevilla

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