Pulitzer Prize winning Photographer John Moore, the man behind the now-famous viral photos of a young immigrant girl crying hysterically after being removed from her mother during a body search, spoke with CNN's Ana Cabrera on Sunday about how that photo came about.
Moore, a father himself, was in McAllen, Texas, a border town flanked by the Rio Grande River, taking photographs of soon-to-be-separated migrant families when he spotted the 2 1/2 year old Honduran asylum seeker and her mother.
At that moment, Moore said he knew something this mother and her tiny child did not—he knew that because of the new policy, the next stop for this small family would be at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing center, where they would likely be detained and housed separately—her mother then prosecuted by the U.S. government.
In the interview with CNN, Moore shared that he had to pull over to gather his emotions afterward and that he still doesn't know exactly what became of the child and her mother.
According to Getty Images' online zine, Foto, Moore:
"has bore witness to the struggles of illegal immigrants for the past decade, collecting his often heartbreaking pictures into the book Undocumented: Immigration and the Militarization of the United States-Mexico Border."
Thanks to all who have expressed concern for the families I photographed this week on the border. For more backstory, please take a look at this feature from FOTO which interviewed me about that night. @GettyImages #gettyimagesnews #Immigration https://t.co/hQbWr66y4m— John Moore (@jbmoorephoto) June 15, 2018
Many people tweeted out excerpts of Moore's compelling CNN interview:
Moore on his work:— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) June 17, 2018
“I would like to say it was a pleasure to take these important photos, but the truth is that it was painful for me, as a journalist and as a father. [...] the changes happening at the border now have 100 percent to do with politics. The law is still the same.”
"As a father myself, it was very difficult for me to see these families detained, knowing that they would soon be split up," said photographer John Moore. "I could see on their faces that they had no idea what was about to happen." https://t.co/HzfRXhY8Ir pic.twitter.com/RmtSh8pEmj— Tim Fanning (@TimothyJFanning) June 17, 2018
“these families were scared.. I doubt any of them had ever done anything like this — flee their home countries with their children, traveling thousands of miles through dangerous conditions to seek asylum in the U.S”- photographer John Moore at the border: https://t.co/8bWM1KlH8w pic.twitter.com/tT7rclNP2j— Caroline Fish (@CarolineAFish) June 17, 2018
Two days ago, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters that nearly 2000 children have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border in just 6 weeks since the new policy had been implemented.
The outcry from the public as a result of Moore's photo and news of these enforced estrangements has been deafening:
ICE and Border Patrol are doing exactly what the Gestapo did! "I was only following orders" was the Nuremberg defense. It's been used to justify way too many atrocities. You are witnessing the small beginning of a large atrocity, if none stand up to @realDonaldTrump .— Legendre Diffeqs (@smithnya) June 18, 2018
Why does the child have to suffer and be separated from family because of the mother's mistake?— 𝘏𝘢𝘳𝘢🌸 (@happyseokjiin) June 18, 2018
What are they going to do to her?
Thank you Ana!! I can only imagine how difficult that was to witness in person. The thought of my child going through that fills me w/ anger I've never known. As these photos fill me with sadness. Maybe those in favor will have a change of heart as a result of ur relentlessness.— JT (@JTrenchik) June 18, 2018
Some offered ways you could take action:
Curiously, Melania Trump even got in on the discussion; as reported by ABC News, the FLOTUS issued an uncharacteristic statement today in response to the outrage over children being separated from their parents at illegal southern border crossings into the United States:
"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” the first lady’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”
Watch Moore's whole gut-wrenching interview here: