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Photographer Recalls the Heartbreaking Story Behind This Picture

We’ve seen this picture all over the internet: a child surrounded by adults, crying, seemingly confused, distraught, and scared. She looks up at the adults, either looking for comfort or needing answers, perhaps both. The picture of a crying little girl has gone viral as the discussion over separating families at the border intensifies.

People are protesting with marches, with hashtags, with articles and a lot of them include this picture of the girl, but we’re only now getting the real story about her. Getty photographer, John Moore, recounted what it was like to not only be on the front lines of this horrific policy by the U.S. government, but also know more of the backstory than the visuals alone.

Moore told FOTO that the girl is a two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker that was with her mother and was taken into custody near the U.S./Mexico border.

“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 in an interview with FOTO. “I could see on their faces that they had no idea what was about to happen.”

The Pulitzer Prize winning-photographer also told CNN that he had to take pause because he was overwhelmed about what he was witnessing.

“As I finished taking these photographs, I had to stop and take a few breaths,” Moore told CNN. “I was sort of overcome with emotion myself. But then it was over and they drove away.”

He goes on to say that he doesn’t know what eventually happened to that 2-year-old, saying “they don’t tell you where they are taking you.”

Moore said: “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.”