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.”
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A Honduran asylum seeker, 2, and her mother are taken into custody by federal agents near the US-Mexico border. They had just crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico and were to be transported to a US Customs and Border Protection processing center. The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for undocumented immigrants calls for the separation of parents and children while their cases for political asylum are adjudicated, a process that can take months – or years. As a father myself, this photograph was especially difficult for me to take. It is one from a series i took while on a ride-along with the Border Patrol in Texas’ Río Grande Valley. #gettyimages #undocumented #gettyimagesnews
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.