‘I was overcome with emotion… this would have been stressful for any child’: Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer reveals the heartache behind iconic snap of crying two-year-old asylum seeker being separated from her mom
- John Moore captured the emotional image of a two-year-old seeking asylum while riding along with Border Patrol agents in Texas’ Rio Grande on June 12
- The image which has since gone viral has come to represent the effects of the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy at the border
- President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that Democrats were to blame for the ‘breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda’
- But the ‘zero tolerance’ policy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions has officials now referring all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution
- US protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are, prompting separation
A photo of a two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker crying while being separated from her mother as they were being taken into custody by federal authorities on Tuesday has become the symbol of the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy at US borders.
Pulitzer prize-winning photographer John Moore captured the emotional image while riding along with Border Patrol agents in Texas’ Rio Grande on June 12.
‘As [a] father myself, this photograph was especially difficult for me to take,’ Moore wrote in the post with the image.
While disturbing, the image of the little girl crying is likely not unique, according to Moore’s description of what he’s seen while photographing the plight of people trying to enter the US.
Pulitzer prize-winning photographer John Moore opens up about capturing a photo of a two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker crying while being taken into custody by federal authorities
Moore is seen here at the launch event for his book, Undocumented, in Mexico on April 19
‘Most of these families were scared, to various degrees,’ Moore told Getty’s online site, Foto, in an article published on Thursday.
‘I doubt any of them had ever done anything like this before — flee their home countries with their children, traveling thousands of miles through dangerous conditions to seek political asylum in the United States, many arriving in the dead of night.’
Moore shared more insight into the plight of the Honduran child in an interview with Getty Image’s Foto, published on Thursday.
‘[T]he mother told me they had been traveling for a full month and were exhausted. They were taken into custody with a group of about 20 immigrants, mostly women and children at about 11pm’ Moore said.
‘Before transporting them to a processing center, transportation officers body searched everyone and the mother was one of the last. She was told to set the child down, while she was searched. The little girl immediately started crying. While it’s not uncommon for toddlers to feel separation anxiety, this would have been stressful for any child. I took only a few photographs and was almost overcome with emotion myself. Then very quickly, they were in the van, and I stopped to take a few deep breaths.’
A Border Patrol spotlight shines on a terrified mother and son from Honduras as they are found in the dark near the US-Mexico border on June 12 in McAllen, Texas
US Border Patrol agents take into custody a father and son from Honduras near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12 near Mission, Texas
Asylum seekers who go directly to official crossings are not supposed to be separated from their families, except in specific circumstances including if officials can’t confirm the relationship between the minor and adults, safety of the children, or if the adult is being prosecuted.
Even so, about 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the border over a six-week period during a crackdown on illegal entries, according to US Department of Homeland Security figures obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.
The figures show that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31, breaking down to an average of 46 children per day being separated from their families.
Agents take Central American asylum seekers into custody on June 12 near McAllen, Texas
Both former first ladies Laura Bush and Michelle Obama shared their thoughts on what’s been happening on social media over Sunday and Monday, respectively
Both former first ladies Laura Bush and Michelle Obama shared their thoughts on what’s been happening on social media over Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Bush tweeted a link to an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post, adding: ‘I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.’
Obama retweeted her post, adding, ‘Sometimes truth transcends party.’
The separations as reported were not broken down by age, and included separations for illegal entry, immigration violations, or possible criminal conduct by the adult.
The new figures are for people who tried to enter the US between official border crossings.
‘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,’ Moore wrote with the photo of the upset little girl.
Moore listens during the launch event of his book. Undocumented, at WeWork in the Varsovia Building in Mexico City, Mexico on April 19
Trump has blamed the Democrats for failing to compromise politically for family separations
An agent takes a group of Central American asylum seekers into custody on June 12 in Texas
Obama’s tweet on Monday seemed to be in reference to Trump having blamed what’s been happening on the Democrats’ failing to compromise politically, which he repeated in the following tweet on Friday: ‘The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!’
But it’s under the ‘zero tolerance’ policy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Department of Homeland Security officials are now referring all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution.
US protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.
The policy has been widely criticized by church groups, politicians and children’s advocates who say it is inhumane.
The asylum seekers, including this father and son from Honduras were sent to a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing center for possible separation
Last week, Sessions also made it more difficult for those hoping to seek asylum in the US, by placing more stringent restrictions on when it can be granted.
‘The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes — such as domestic violence or gang violence — or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime cannot itself establish an asylum claim,’ he wrote in a formal legal opinion on June 11.
Caged and separated: Photos show inside a Texas processing…
Two THOUSAND children have been separated from their parents…
Share this article
In writing the opinion, Sessions exercised his discretion to overturn precedent, which four years ago acknowledged ‘married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship’ as a social group that may seek asylum in the US, NBC reported.
First Lady Melania Trump shared a statement on the state of affairs on Sunday,
‘Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,’ the statement read.
‘She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.’
A Honduran mother holds her two-year-old as US Border Patrol as agents review their papers near the US-Mexico border on June 12 in McAllen, Texas
Source: Read Full Article