The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics says migrant children being separated from their parents at the border are suffering from child abuse. Veuer’s Elizabeth Keatinge has more.
By now, you’ve likely seen the image of a two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker crying as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Photographer John Moore spoke with NPR about the June 12 photo, shedding some light on the moving photo that’s gone viral across the internet. Moore said he was photographing the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas when he came upon undocumented immigrants, mostly women and children.
“I could see the fear on their faces and in their eyes. As the border patrol took peoples’ names down, I could see a mother holding a young child,” Moore said on Weekend Edition Sunday to Lulu Garcia-Navarro.
John Moore is a Pulitzer prize-winning photographer for Getty Images who has been photographing the border for over a decade.
Moore took the photo after the border patrol agents asked the girl’s mother to put her down so her name and information could be processed and she could be searched before the two were detained.
“At that moment, the young child broke into tears and she started wailing. I took a knee and had very few frames of that moment before it was over, and she picked up her daughter, and they were rushed into the van and all taken away.”
Moore, who speaks Spanish, spoke with the girl’s mother briefly before border patrol agents took them away. The mother told Moore they are from Honduras and traveled over a month before rafting over the Rio Grande from Mexico to arrive at the U.S. border in Texas, according to CNN.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that the mother and child are together.
Since June 12, the photo has been shared thousands of times on social media and is currently the cover photo for a Facebook campaign raising money for legal fees to reunite children separated from their parents at the border. As of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign had raised nearly $5.5 million for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, an immigration legal services non-profit in Texas. This is the largest single fundraiser ever on Facebook, according to the social network site.
Moore told NPR that taking the photo and covering the border has been especially challenging recently because he is unsure whether undocumented families are aware of the possibility that they could be separated.
“Most of us here had heard the news that the administration had planned to separate families, and these people really had no idea about this news, and it was hard to take these pictures knowing what was coming next,” Moore said.
Moore told Time taking this photo was also been difficult not only as a photojournalist but also as a father.
“I had to stop and take deep breaths,” Moore said. “All I wanted to do was pick her up. But I couldn’t.”
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