Deceptive Photo of Crying Migrant Toddler Wins Prestigious Media Award

‘They’re using [the picture] to symbolize a policy and that was not the case in this picture…’

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) A widely circulated picture of a 2-year-old girl crying at the U.S.-Mexico border won the World Press Photo Foundation’s 2019 Photo of the Year award, even after the organization admitted that the image was based on a lie.

The media spread the lie that Border Patrol agents separated the young girl, Yanela Denise, from her mother, Sandra Sanchez, in accordance with a short-lived child separation policy.


The father of the girl, Denis Javier Varela Hernandez, told reporters that his wife and daughter were housed together in Texas at a family housing facility.

“They are safer now than when they were making that journey to the border,” Hernandez said.

Border Patrol agent Carlos Ruiz found the mother and child after they crossed the Rio Grande River and illegally entered into Texas.

“We were patrolling the border. It was after 10 o’clock at night,” Ruiz said. “We asked her to set the kid down in front of her, not away from her, she was right in front of her…So we can properly search the mother.”

Ruiz then ensured the health and safety of the mother and child.

“So the kid immediately started crying as she set her down,” he said, according to CBS News. “I personally went up to the mother and asked her ‘Are you doing OK? Is the kid OK?’ and she said, ‘Yes. She’s tired and thirsty. It’s 11 o’clock at night.’”

Time placed the picture on its front cover, with President Donald Trump staring down at the helpless child.

Time misleadingly used the picture to evoke anger against Trump, even though it was the Trump administration that was caring for and protecting the child, at taxpayers’ expense.

The Getty Images photographer who took the picture, John Moore, told CBS News, “I knew it would be important. I had no way of knowing that it would touch people quite on the level that it has.”

The liberal Huffington Post reported that “the World Press Photo jury felt the image was powerful enough to merit the prestigious award.”

But its power is based on lies about the situation—lies intended to defame a nation that treats its immigrants, even its illegal immigrants, kindly and justly.

“We are also fathers, we are also sons, we are also have families, and we do care, and we do our jobs, and we treat these people as humanely and as best as we possibly can,” Border Patrol agent Ruiz said. “They’re using [the picture] to symbolize a policy and that was not the case in this picture. It took less than two minutes. As soon as the search was finished, she immediately picked the girl up, and the girl immediately stopped crying.”