The photo of a two-year-old girl crying that was captured near the US-Mexico border inTexas last year has won the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year Award. The annual photo award, which carries a prize of 10,000 Euros ($11,300), is decided by a jury of photojournalists and photographers and was announced this past Thursday, April 11, at a ceremony in Amsterdam.
According to CNN, the image, titled 'Crying Girl on the Border', was taken by Getty photographer and Pulitzer prize winner John Moore on June 12 near McAllen, with most recognizing the iconic photograph after it quickly became the face of Donald Trump's highly controversial 'zero tolerance' immigration policy.
For a little more context, the photograph taken is of a Honduran toddler and her mother being stopped by US border officials in McAllen after they, along with others, had survived the difficult journey of crossing the Rio Grande.
Moore reportedly captured the photograph just as Sandra Sanchez set her two-year-old daughter, Yanela Sanchez, down. The girl is shown crying as her mother is searched before they are taken to a processing center.
"One of the last people to get on the bus was the mother of this child and her daughter together," Moore revealed to CNN in an interview. "And when they went to body-search (the mother) against the vehicle, they asked her to put down her child. And right then, at that moment, the little girl broke into tears."
He continued, "It's not unusual for toddlers in any circumstance to have separation anxiety. But I think this particular situation with the separation of families leads and gives a new meaning to that phrase."
'Crying Girl on the Border' quickly went viral because of the fierce public scrutiny President Trump's harsh border policy — which effectively allowed border patrol agents to separate children from their parents — was coming under at the time. The policy meant as many as 2,000 immigrant children were separated from their parents over a period of around six weeks in April and May, though a spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection confirmed Yanela and her mother had not been separated.
The Trump administration eventually backtracked on the policy after continued backlash from all quarters, with President Trump signing an executive order in June which ended the separations. However, the problem of reuniting these separated children with their parents remained.
Speaking after his win, Moore was quoted saying, "I think this image touched many people's hearts, as it did mine because it humanizes a larger story. When you see Yanela's face, and she is more than two years old now, you really see the humanity and the fear of making such a long journey and crossing a border in the dead of night."