THE LITTLE GIRL ON TIME’S COVER

Time Magazine revealed its July cover on June 22nd causing quite a stir both online and offline. The cover photo shows a little girl crying hysterically while looking up at a towering image of President Trump. In the photo, Trump is looking straight down at her with a not-so-warm expression. The caption of the cover was ‘Welcome to America’, and together with the photo, it was supposed to depict the cruelty that immigrant children are undergoing during forceful separation from their parents at the American borders. The illustration also conveys the message that the Trump administration is squarely responsible for these atrocities.

The magazine drew a lot of criticism for this illustration because the girl captured on the cover is still together with her parent, and not separated, as the cover photo seems to suggest. According to the officials from the US Customs and Border Protection agency, the girl and her mother are still together after the agents at the McAllen border questioned her mother. John Moore, a Pulitzer-award winning photographer, captured the picture of the crying girl, who is Honduran by descent on June 12. He captured the moment the girl was crying as border officials took her mother aside and started questioning her.

Even after the authorities highlighted the discrepancy and the magazine began to draw criticism from many quarters for its inaccurate photo depiction, the Time magazine stood by its decision to use that little girl’s photo on its July cover. According to staff members at the magazine, the picture, though not depicting an actual child separated from her parents, is the most poignant symbol of the horrendous human rights abuse that is currently happening at American borders. They continue to stand by the illustration cover because, according to them, it is the most evocative way to convince Americans that Trump’s border separation policy is contrary to core American values.

The staff members were right. The image was more powerful than words, or any other image of countless children being separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border. Some believe that it has played an immense role in the reversal of the border separation policy.

You might be wondering what this particular US border separation policy entails, and why nearly everyone, except maybe Donald Trump and some of his Republican cohorts, is  outraged about it. Well, before its reversal in late June 2018, the family separation policy was in full effect as part of Donald Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy on immigration.

Thousands of these illegal immigrants are parents, and they often attempt to cross this perilous border with their children, rather than leave them behind to continue suffering in abject poverty. The policy, which came into full effect in May, allows the border police to separate these kids from their parents who are then whisked off to jail where they are forced to face criminal prosecution.

After forceful and often traumatic separation from the parents, the children are taken to detention facilities where they are kept, in not so conducive conditions, for an undetermined amount of time. Sources indicate that nearly 2000 children had been separated from their parents at the border by the end of May, and the number continued to grow throughout the month of June.

Fortunately, thanks to intense political and public pressure, the inhumane policy was suspended indefinitely in late June through an executive order. In addition, a federal court issued an injunction ceasing the implementation of the policy countrywide and ordering the reunification of the children within these detention facilities with their parents.

Matches and protests across the country continue in order to pile pressure on the Trump administration to reunite the thousands of immigrant children separated from their parents at the border as quickly as possible.