Breaking News Emails
A photo of a crying Honduran girl used as a symbol of the Trump administration's policy of separating undocumented migrant children from their parents turns out to not be as representative as originally believed.
The June 12 image of 2-year-old Yanela Sanchez went viral and was selected for the cover of the July 2 issue of Time. But the magazine published a correction to an article about the photo clarifying that the girl was never actually separated from her mother, Sandra.
"The original version of this story misstated what happened to the girl in the photo after she [was] taken from the scene," said the correction, which was added to the article shortly after it was published online on Tuesday. "The girl was not carried away screaming by U.S. Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together."
The photographer, John Moore of Getty Images, had noticed the mistake and contacted Time to make the correction, the magazine said.
Before President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the forced separations of children from parents as part of a "zero tolerance" immigration policy, the image taken by Moore, a Pulitzer Prize winner, seemed to encapsulate the terror facing more than 2,300 affected children.
Moore told The Washington Post that he didn't know whether the mother and daughter would be separated after they were taken away, “but it was a very real possibility” given the current policy.
Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal stood by the overall reporting behind the magazine's cover story and the larger issues represented by Moore's photo.
“The June 12 photograph of the 2-year-old Honduran girl became the most visible symbol of the ongoing immigration debate in America for a reason: Under the policy enforced by the administration, prior to its reversal this week, those who crossed the border illegally were criminally prosecuted, which in turn resulted in the separation of children and parents," Felsenthal said in a statement on Friday. "Our cover and our reporting capture the stakes of this moment.”
Yanela's father, Denis Varela Hernandez, came forward late Thursday to tell The Daily Mail that a Honduran official in the U.S. had informed him that the toddler was never separated from her mother except for a brief pat-down and that the two were being held together in a family detention center.
"You can imagine how I felt when I saw that photo of my daughter. It broke my heart. It's difficult as a father to see that, but I know now that they are not in danger," Varela, 32, told the British newspaper. "They are safer now than when they were making that journey to the border."
Supporters of Trump's stance on immigration, including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, took to social media to express their outrage over the way the photo had been represented.
A representative for Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to NBC News that Sandra Sanchez, who previously entered the country illegally and was deported in 2013, was transferred into agency custody Sunday and moved to the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley.
While the agency doesn't divulge information on minors, that facility is generally used to house families.