Photojournalist John Moore captured several photos at the U.S.-Mexico border last week, but one of them is particularly striking.
It shows a two-year-old Honduran girl at the border, crying as a U.S. Border Patrol officer searched her mother, one of many undocumented immigrants seeking passage to the U.S.
Moore, an award-winning photographer with Getty Images, told NPR that the girl and her mother had arrived at the U.S. border after a month on the road; they and other newly-arrived asylum-seekers were totally unaware of the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents.
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“Most of us here had heard the news that the administration had planned to separate families, and these people really had no idea about this news. And it was hard to take these pictures, knowing what was coming next,” Moore said.
Some 2,000 minors are believed to have been separated from their families at the U.S. border over a period of only six weeks, a policy that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said was not in contravention with U.S. law or indeed the Bible.
Moore told NPR he doesn’t know what happened to the girl and her mother, and if they were separated or not.
“I would very much like to know. Ever since I took those pictures, I think about that moment often. And it’s emotional for me every time,” he said.
Another photo was taken after Moore and a Border Patrol guard heard what appeared to be a crying baby among the rafts of immigrants coming across the Rio Grande — only it wasn’t a baby, but a developmentally challenged 10-year-old boy.
“He was terrified,” Moore told Getty Images blog FOTO, adding that he tried showing the boy pictures of the river to try and calm him.
“I then told him something that was natural to say in the moment, but that I immediately regretted. ‘No te preocupas, todo va a estar bien,’ I said. I told him not to worry, everything will be alright.
“I really wish I hadn’t said that, because I’m not sure it’s true.”
The gallery below shows some of the other photos taken by Moore at the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday, June 12:
Moore, who spent plenty of time in the company of Border Patrol agents, said most of them have compassion for asylum-seekers, but find the work of processing them tedious, and don’t think the U.S. should be responsible for accepting them.
WATCH: U.S. Border Patrol defends immigration practices
As for the asylum-seekers themselves, Moore says most of them looked petrified.
“Most of these families were scared, to various degrees,” he told FOTO. “I doubt any of them had ever done anything like this before – flee their home countries with their children, traveling thousands of miles through dangerous conditions to seek political asylum in the United States, many arriving in the dead of night.”
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