(Reuters) – After weeks of criticism over the separation of immigrant families, the White House seized on a photo of a Honduran toddler seen sobbing at the U.S.-Mexican border to accuse Democrats and the media on Friday of exploiting the picture to push their agenda on immigration.
The photograph, taken by Getty Images photographer John Moore at the scene of a border detention this month, became a powerful image in the media coverage of the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexican border.
Dozens of newspapers and magazines including Time and the Washington Post published the image.
The image, widely seen as showing the girl crying over being parted from her mother, helped swell outrage at home and abroad that pushed President Donald Trump to back down on Wednesday on his administration’s policy of separating children from their families while the adults were prosecuted for illegally crossing the border.
Getty’s caption on the June 12 picture taken at the Texas border town of McAllen said the photo showed a 2-year-old Honduran asylum seeker crying as her mother was searched and detained. The caption said the detention could lead to possible separation, not that this had occurred.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Friday the mother and child had not been separated, and accused Democrats and the media of exploiting the picture.
On Friday, Time published a correction saying: “The original version of this story misstated what happened to the girl in the photo after she (was) taken from the scene. 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.”