Crying toddler at the border in viral photo was never separated from her mother

Jun 23, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Crying toddler at the border in viral photo was never separated from her mother

Jun 23, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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A photo of a crying two-year-old at the Mexican border became a symbol of the recent immigration crisis. However, it has now come to light that this girl was allegedly not separated from her mother. The Border Patrol agent who was involved in the scene says that the mother and her daughter are being housed together in Texas, which makes the photo “a little misleading.”

The photo was taken by Getty Images photographer John Moore, and he told the story about it in a recent interview. He explained how difficult it was for him to take the photo, but the moment he took it, he knew it would be important. The photo was used on a TIME Magazine cover, where the little girl was photoshopped next to Donald Trump “welcoming” her to America.

The photo, indeed, became important. It quickly became a symbol of the immigration crisis and the separation of immigrant parents from their children. However, as the Border Patrol agent Carlos Ruiz claims, this particular girl stayed with her parents.

Ruiz told CBS News that he was the first to encounter the mother, Sandra Sanchez, as she and her daughter allegedly crossed the Rio Grande River into Texas illegally. The Border Patrol agents asked the mother to set the girl down in front of her, so that they could properly search the mother. The little girl immediately started crying, but Ruiz explained that the search “took less than two minutes.” He added that, after the search was finished, the mother “immediately picked the girl up, and the girl immediately stopped crying.”

As CBS News reports, Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that Sandra Sanchez and her daughter stayed together. They are reportedly now being housed together at a facility in Texas and their immigration proceedings are ongoing. Even the girl’s father reportedly confirmed that his daughter and her mother weren’t separated, The Washington Post writes.

Learning that the girl wasn’t really separated from her mother caused a lot of reactions, calling the photo “misleading” and “fake news.” However, even if this particular child wasn’t separated from her mom, it doesn’t mean that many other children aren’t. According to The Washington Post, at least 2,500 migrant children have been separated from their parents at the border since May 5. The girl’s dad told the same source his daughter stayed with her mom, “but it is not the case for 2,000 children that were separated from their parents.”

When talking about the photo, John Moore himself said that it’s not uncommon for toddlers to experience separation anxiety and start crying when a parent puts them down. He captured a moment like this, and I think it’s not something we should take literally. In my opinion, it is more of a symbol, and we should see this photo as such.

[via CBS News, The Washington Post]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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21 responses to “Crying toddler at the border in viral photo was never separated from her mother”

  1. Lis Thomsen Avatar
    Lis Thomsen

    So she wasn’t. 2300 others were.

    1. David Fiorito Avatar
      David Fiorito

      But the point of photojournalism is to factually record events, not to invent a narrative that changes the meaning of a photo. To do so is the equivalent of passing off a piece of fiction as a news story.

    2. Vincent Cyr Avatar
      Vincent Cyr

      And a few MILLION kids in the US are forcibly taken away from their parents, and many end up homeless, a worse fate than those “poor ilegal immigrant kids” have. There is no talk about fixing that.
      And before someone says that “their parents didn’t do anything wrong”, it needs to be pointed out that trying to cross the border without documentation and without going through the proper channels IS AGAINST THE LAW.

  2. David Ar Lester Avatar
    David Ar Lester

    Children have anxiety separation even when put down.

  3. Lysa Chapman Burns Avatar
    Lysa Chapman Burns

    So, now BOTH viral images of crying illegal toddlers have been proven staged and lied about. I truly DO NOT know what to believe anymore. ??‍♀️??‍♀️??‍♀️

    1. Aankhen Avatar
      Aankhen

      I don’t think ‘staged’ means what you think it means, unless you think it was staged by the Border Patrol agents to make themselves look bad.

    2. Bill Trudo Avatar
      Bill Trudo

      Read the comment from Michael Vasilev, he says it better than I can.

    3. Lysa Chapman Burns Avatar
      Lysa Chapman Burns

      But no. This is exactly what Trump says is fake news. This is wrong! This is out of context. It’s horrible journalism!

  4. Martin Cohen Avatar
    Martin Cohen

    The number of children under age 18 in the United States has grown from 47.3 million in 1950 to 74.1 million in 2010, before decreasing somewhat to 73.6 million in 2014.
    . About 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses.
    World wide, the numbers are astronomically large.
    Sad for 2,000 or maybe 1,500 illegal immigrants. Is a picture really worth 2000 words? Or is it a distraction from other issues that can’t be delt with by an editorialized cartoon.??? I regularly work at a food bank, give to my Local charity, and have sent money directly to Texas disaster victims. Average politician legally earns 6 figures, leaves their office richer than when they were first elected. Re-election NOBODY. It’s All a distraction from real issues. I’m just saying

  5. Andrew Rich Avatar
    Andrew Rich

    Srsly diyphotography?

  6. Betty Conway Avatar
    Betty Conway

    She looked scared and upset. And somebody next to her was being handcuffed.

    1. Ra Avatar
      Ra

      Right. You get handcuffed when you get arrested for breaking the law.

  7. Michael Vasilev Avatar
    Michael Vasilev

    I wonder how many people clicked through and read the post? This still represents what others are going through. From the article it doesn’t seem this was staged, just (Thank goodness) this child was able to be with her mother and father. People shouldn’t dwell on this one image, but instead what this image represents. It’s easy to just stay on this one image, rather than seeing the whole picture.

    1. Lysa Chapman Burns Avatar
      Lysa Chapman Burns

      But its not one image. This is the second image that viraled portrayed as one story then discover its not that narrative at all! This is bad bad bad journalism.

  8. Steve Morin Avatar
    Steve Morin

    Does it really matter? The kid was terrified. Imagine how the ones with no perents felt. Shameful immigration policy. #soembarrassing

    1. Ra Avatar
      Ra

      What’s shameful is the parents putting their children in this situation. This would not be happening but for the parents attempting to enter the country surreptitiously and thinking that because they have kids in tow that they can get away with it.

  9. Sam Berghuis Avatar
    Sam Berghuis

    So many other children WERE separated from their parents.

    1. Ra Avatar
      Ra

      Right. It’s a pity that so many of these parents put their kids in this situation by attempting to illegally enter the country.

  10. Henry Block Avatar
    Henry Block

    Photographers produce art. That’s what they do. Journalists produce an accurate reflection of the news. At least, that is what we hope they do. TIME is pushing a narrative and not news, as does much of the media today. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f0271dd229236fa6d4fab4da3c953e5c8617ef41fcb111102731f58e8642d116.jpg

  11. bergstrom Avatar
    bergstrom

    the kid was scared.

  12. Vincent Cyr Avatar
    Vincent Cyr

    “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” William Randolph Hearst, 1898
    This isn’t a new phenomenon. Taking a photograph out of context, and telling a story that fits the narrative you want to push is a tactic almost as old as photojournalism. The truth doesn’t matter to the people running things, only that people think what they want them to think. It may sound tinfoil hat- ish, but it is none the less true.