Girl in Border Photo Was Never Taken From Her Mom

Honduran toddler who became face of border separations wasn't actually separated herself
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2018 1:40 PM CDT
A US Customs and Border Protection agent watches as immigrants unload from buses on Thursday in McAllen, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(Newser) – A photo of an immigrant toddler on the cover of Time may not be depicting exactly what everyone thinks. The image of the Honduran girl, seen crying on the cover in front of a digitally added President Trump, was originally taken by Getty photographer John Moore. He captured the photo as the girl and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, were being detained in McAllen, Texas, where Sanchez has applied for asylum, per Reuters. The photo soon came to be seen as a powerful representation of the border separations—it was even the inspiration for a fundraiser that brought in more than $18 million—but there's a bump: Denis Valera, the girl's father in Honduras, says she was never separated from her mother. Plus, a border agent tells CBS News that the search of Sanchez took about two minutes, that he personally asked Sanchez how she and her daughter were doing, and that the girl stopped crying when her mom picked her back up.

White House press chief Sarah Huckabee Sanders was one of the first to address the news, tweeting Friday: "It's shameful that dems and the media exploited this photo of a little girl to push their agenda." In a Washington Post interview earlier this week, Moore never says the mother and daughter were definitely separated, but he does say that, after he watched the child and mother climb into the Border Patrol van and be driven away, he thought: "I fear they were split up." The Time piece on what Moore witnessed has since added a correction that notes the original article "misstated" what had happened and that the toddler "was not carried away screaming by US Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together." The girl and her mother are being held together at a facility in Texas while her asylum request is processed, per CBS. (Read more border separations stories.)

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