Caution Immigrants crossing


This Californian sign has a long history and has become a pop culture icon nowadays. It was created in 1990 by graphic artist John Hood to avoid the immigrant traffic deaths. At that point, close to 100 undocumented immigrants had been killed over a five-year span.

Immigrant smugglers adopted the tactic of dropping off the immigrants before the checkpoint control, so they had to cross the highway on foot to rejoin the smugglers on the other side (already USA territory) and go to their final destination.

Before this version, a sign containing only text has been proved to have too much text to be spotted by the drivers. The sign contained the text “Caution Watch for people crossing road”.immigration-sign-all-text.png

The running family silhouette signs were first placed in September 1990, and since 1995 traffic authorities have implemented other physical measures (fences), so it is difficult to say how effective they were. Even though, the Border Patrol can’t recall any immigrants having died crossing local freeways since the late 1990s.

After that the silhouetted family has taken on a life of its own as stores started to sell any kind of merchandising (the sign is public domain) as t-shirts, posters, stickers and many people started to modify it for their own purposes. From right wing anti-immigration propaganda to second or third generation of immigrants proud symbol. It has also been included in museums and also Banksy made his contribution when visiting L.A.


Even if they just save one life, John Hood can be proud of his creation. But more than that, it has became a symbol for many people.  And for anything that is enough popular, you can always find a zombie version of it…

immigration-sign-zombie-by-NMRYou can buy this one on amazon here.

Sources: Wikipedia, San Diego Union Tribune and Southern California Public Radio.


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