In times of harrowing trauma, sometimes the faces of children tell us the whole story. Over the past few days, one image seems to have captured the brutal act of separating children from parents just moments before it happens.
She’s a 2-year-old girl from Honduras, standing behind her mother at the border between the United States and Mexico. She looks up at immigration officials, crying hysterically. It’s all she can do.
John Moore, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, was on assignment snapping pictures of asylum seekers crossing the border when he came across the little girl and her mother in a group. Officials conducted a body search on the mother, who had been traveling for a month with her daughter, Moore told CNN.
“When they went to body search her ... they asked her to put down her child,” Moore said. “And right then, in that moment, the little girl broke into tears.”
“I think the families there had no idea that they would soon be separated from their children,” Moore added.
The images of children in the midst of trauma have been able to tell international stories otherwise buried in the news. I think of the uproar over the solitary image of the little Syrian boy whose body lay on a European beach. His photo became a rallying cry in the refugee crisis. I remember the shell-shocked boy covered in dust and blood in the back of a Syrian ambulance, his neighborhood bombed by enemy planes. What has and what will become of this little girl now?
With the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border, hundreds of children are being taken from their parents and placed into separate facilities, potentially even tent cities in the middle of the Texas summer.