How A Photojournalist Sparked A Political Outcry

TIMES’s July cover with the caption “This is America” caused the photograph of a 2-year-old asylum seeking girl to go viral. John Moore, an award-winning photojournalist, tells the story behind the heart- breaking image he took that has now gained attention. Moore speaks on his personal emotions when capturing that moment: “... as a father, and I have a toddler myself, it was very difficult to see what was happening in front of my lens and thinking what it was like for my kids to be separated from me.” The photo was taken at the Texas border where Moore got to speak briefly with the mother of the child before she was patted down and searched. The mother of the 2-year-old girl told Moore they had been traveling for an entire month. They came from Honduras and were passing through Mexico when they reached the United States border. The people at the border were being loaded on to buses to be taken to a processing center where they were most likely going to separate the children from their parents. The mother and child were one of the last people to board the bus. Moore further explained that when the mother was asked to put down her child to be searched against the vehicle – that’s when the child began to burst into tears, her face filled with desperation. Moore comments that it is not uncommon for toddlers to suffer from separation anxiety but since it happened where families are separated, it does in fact add a much deeper meaning to that phase. It was then obvious to Moore that the family, having traveled in such difficult conditions, were unaware on the recent policy changes all over the news. He knew what was going to happen next. The parents and the children will end up in different detention facilities which made it difficult for him to witness not only as a journalist, but as a father.

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