A Getty photographer tells the story behind a heartbreaking photo he took of a migrant girl sobbing while agents questioned her mum at the border

John Moore/Getty ImagesA two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the US-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.
  • Getty photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner John Moore shared what it’s like to take pictures of detained immigrant families at the border.
  • He has covered the US-Mexico border for a decade, and taken many iconic photos of the scene there over the years.
  • “As a father myself, it was very difficult for me to see these families detained, knowing that they would soon be split up,” Moore said.

Getty photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner John Moore has taken some of the most iconic photos to emerge from the US-Mexico border, including one of an asylum-seeking young girl crying at a detention center as Border Patrol agents questioned her mother before separating them.

Moore shared what it’s like taking pictures of detained immigrant families at the border, many of whom are now being separated as part of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

“As a father myself, it was very difficult for me to see these families detained, knowing that they would soon be split up,” he told Getty’s blog Foto. “I could see on their faces that they had no idea what was about to happen.”

Moore said he doubted many of the families coming to the border knew about the Trump administration’s new immigration policy to separate families that cross the border.

“Most of these families were scared, to various degrees,” Moore told Foto. “I doubt any of them had ever done anything like this before – flee their home countries with their children, travelling thousands of miles through dangerous conditions to seek political asylum in the United States, many arriving in the dead of night.”

Border agents appear to have a feeling of “resignation” about implementing and enforcing the new immigration policy, according to Moore.

“Generally speaking, agents find the bureaucracy of processing so many asylum seekers tedious,” Moore said. “Once families cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas, they seek out Border Patrol agents and then turn themselves in. I’d say that many agents do have some compassion for them, but they don’t think that the US should be responsible for accepting them.”

In the instance of the young girl crying as her mother was questioned by border patrol agents, Moore said that she is two years old and from Honduras. The mother told him they had been travelling for a month to get to the US border and apply for asylum.

When the mother set her daughter down so that she could be searched and the young girl began to cry, Moore admitted that he “was almost overcome with emotion myself.”

Read the full story from Foto ┬╗

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