It was the image that became emblematic of children separated from their parents as they crossed the border — a young girl crying that was featured on the front cover of Time Magazine.
Yanela Denise, 2-years-old, was crying as her mother was apprehended entering the United States from Honduras. The image was photoshopped as if she was confronting President Donald Trump, staring down at her as if terminally uncaring about her plight.
The reader must have imagined that the crying toddler was about to be “ripped” from her parents (“ripped” being the word of the moment, repeated ad nauseaum by the media whenever any discussion of immigration takes place) and taken to a Dickensian child warehousing facility where she’d be fed gruel and lost in some sort of bureaucratic maze.
There was just one problem: The only parent Yanela was separated from was her father, and it wasn’t by the U.S. government or the Trump administration.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, the girl’s father, 32-year-old Denis Javier Varela Hernandez, says that his wife Sandra Maria Sanchez took his daughter on the dangerous journey from Honduras to reach the U.S. border on June 3 without notifying him.
In most countries, absconding with a child without telling the other parent is typically frowned upon by the law — but that’s hardly the only thing about this image that we didn’t hear about when it first made headlines.
Time magazine just released this photo of their new cover.
It features a young girl who was photographed in a now viral image taken by photographer John Moore of Getty Images. The child was detained, along with her mother, after allegedly crossing the border, illegally. pic.twitter.com/07aWShzoLp
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) June 21, 2018
Firstly, Yanela hasn’t been separated from her parents. She’s actually “at a family residential center in Texas.” The two were detained together, but at no time were they separated after the photo of the crying girl was taken in McAllen, Texas.
Moreover, according to BuzzFeed, the mother had already been deported from the United States in 2013 after she “was encountered by immigration officials in Hebbronville, Texas,” according to a statement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“On July 9, 2013, she was transferred to ICE ERO custody. On July 18, 2013, Sanchez was removed to Honduras under expedited removal.”
Hernandez says that he has been in touch with his wife.
“My heart broke because it’s my little girl,” Hernandez said. “The first time I said that’s my little girl when I saw the report.”
When asked if he had cried, Hernandez responded: “Of course I cried, it’s really hard. I can imagine that my wife was very fearful crossing the border because she took the decision.”
He said that life in Honduras was “very difficult but it’s not worth it to risk the mother’s life and the girl’s life.”
“I hope that they respect the rights of my wife and daughter because she is a queen, it breaks my heart. We all have rights.”
So, just so we’re clear: Yanela was never separated from her mother. She was taken from her country by a mother who declined to tell her father. The mother had been deported from the United States previously. The father noted that while Honduras is “very difficult,” there wasn’t any reason to risk two lives to get to the United States. In other words, there was no credible fear.
There’s one person responsible for Yanela’s tears. That’s Sandra Maria Sanchez. Anything else is, as they like to say, fake news.
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