No image has galvanized revulsion toward Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy like the one showing a two-year-old Honduran girl crying—the only light coming from the vehicles around her—as a U.S. border patrol agent searches her mother near the Mexican border. The photo is taken from the little girl’s eye level, while the adults stand over her, out of frame.
The image has been seen and shared by millions, as Trump’s controversial policy of taking asylum-seeking children from their families and holding them in U.S. foster care—while their mothers and fathers are jailed and criminally prosecuted—draws fierce criticism. It’s been estimated that nearly 2,000 children have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border since April, as part of a practice a human rights official with the UN has called “unconscionable.”
John Moore, an award-winning American photographer with Getty Images, captured the photo while patrolling with border agents on Tuesday in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. “It was a moonless night,” Moore told NPR in a recent interview. “We came across a group of undocumented immigrants, mostly families, women and children. And I could see the fear on their faces, in their eyes.” The agents took names and when it came time for the mother to be searched, they asked her to put down her daughter: “At that moment, the young child broke into tears, and she started wailing,” Moore said.
Moore spoke to the mother, who told him they had been travelling for a month. Then they were rushed in a van and taken away. “I do not know what happened to them. I would very much like to know,” Moore said. “Ever since I took those pictures, I think about that moment often.”
Here are more images captured by Moore in the Rio Grande Valley:
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