John Moore/Getty Images

Father of the crying Honduran girl says she and her mother weren't separated

June 22, 2018 - 4:49 pm
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(RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas) -- The father of the young girl from Honduras whose picture has become an iconic image of the immigration battle now says that his daughter and wife were never separated by U.S. authorities.

A picture of the little girl crying for her mother was widely circulated and while the photographer made it clear he didn't know the fate of the pair, the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy had separated many families in similar situations.

The girl and her mother, whose names were not initially released, were photographed after crossing the border in the Rio Grande Valley by Customs and Border Protection last week.

The photographer, John Moore, said that he saw the pair were together when they were taken from the scene, but some groups started using the photo in relation to the policy that resulted in families being separated at the border.

Now Denis Javier Varela Hernandez, the husband and father of the mother and girl respectively, has told ABC News that the pair were not separated by U.S. officials.

He said that Honduran authorities told him that his daughter Yanela and her mother Sandra were not separated and are both in Texas.

He told ABC News that he has not yet been able to speak with his wife or daughter.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that the woman, Sandra Maria Sanchez, was arrested on June 12 by agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol near Hidalgo, Texas while traveling with a family member.

On Sunday she was transferred to ICE custody and is now at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. Her immigration proceedings are ongoing, according to ICE.

ICE also noted that the mother was previously deported in 2013.

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