The real story behind the viral photo of a crying toddler at the border

MCALLEN, Texas — An image of a 2-year-old girl crying while border patrol agents  searched her mother as the asylum seekers tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has gone viral, and the photographer who captured the moment is now sharing the real story behind the image.

The photo was taken June 12 in McAllen, Texas, by Getty Images photographer John Moore.

Moore told CNN that he briefly spoke with the girl’s mother.

She told him that the pair had been traveling for a month, coming from Honduras through Mexico. They rafted across the Rio Grande and were detained before being sent to a Border Patrol processing center for possible separation.

It’s part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy toward undocumented immigrants — a policy that has been stoking outrage.

On Father’s Day, a group of Democratic lawmakers visited a facility where children are being held, and they were angry at what they saw. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy should be called “zero humanity.” Reporters toured the warehouse-like building too and described seeing hundreds of children in chain-link cages, apparently sleeping on the floor on mattresses with mylar blankets.

Former first lady Laura Bush added her voice to the complaints, calling the policy “cruel.” And current first lady Melania Trump said she “hates” to see kids separated from their families and “believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”

President Donald Trump suggested that he’s using the issue to get Democrats to submit to his immigration demands, which include funding for a border wall and curbs on legal immigration. He also falsely claimed the Democrats are responsible for his policy. He’s supposed to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to hash out a possible path forward on a pair of immigration bills.