SHOCK: Migrant Mother and ‘Crying Girl’ on TIME Cover Never Separated; Mom Deported in 2013, Left Husband With Good Job, 3 Other Kids, Paid Coyote $6K to Sneak Back in US
UPDATE: Mother was previously deported in 2013. CBP statement appended to end of article.
The Daily Mail interviewed the husband of the migrant mother of the crying girl in the now world famous photo taken by Getty Images’ John Moore as they were apprehended by Border Patrol agents crossing illegally into the U.S. earlier this month.
A Honduran asylum seeker, 2, and her mother are taken into custody near the US-Mexico border. The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for undocumented immigrants calls for the separation of parents and children. #gettyimages #undocumented #gettyimagesnews pic.twitter.com/2tCmxDYlvd
— John Moore (@jbmoorephoto) June 13, 2018
— Univision (@Univision) June 15, 2018
A Honduran asylum seeker carries her daughter, age 2, before being taken into custody by Border Patrol agents near the US-Mexico border this week. #gettyimages #undocumented #gettyimagesnews #gettyimages pic.twitter.com/rkapHHQajs
— John Moore (@jbmoorephoto) June 16, 2018
The top photo has been used by the media and activists to pummel the Trump administration for its decision to start strictly enforcing immigration laws at the border by prosecuting all illegal border crossers, prompting children to be taken from their parents caught sneaking them in.
The husband said his wife left him and their three older children for a “better life” in the U.S. He said she was seeking political ayslum but he made no mention of any gangs or threats by the government, just that his wife wanted to live the American Dream. Photographs from Facebook posted by the Mail show a happy mother with her family driving a nice car. However, the husband says his wife left without telling him or giving him the chance to say goodbye to their daughter.
The father of the Honduran girl who became the face of the family separation crisis has revealed that he still has not been in touch with his wife or daughter but was happy to learn they are safe.
Denis Javier Varela Hernandez, 32, said that he had not heard from his wife Sandra, 32, who was with his two-year-old daughter Yanela Denise, for nearly three weeks until he saw the image of them being apprehended in Texas.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Hernandez, who lives in Puerto Cortes, Honduras, says that he was told yesterday that his wife and child are being detained at a family residential center in Texas but are together and are doing ‘fine.’
‘You can imagine how I felt when I saw that photo of my daughter. It broke my heart. It’s difficult as a father to see that, but I know now that they are not in danger. They are safer now than when they were making that journey to the border,’ he said.
Denis said his wife and daughter were never separated by border control agents and remain together.
He revealed that his wife had previously mentioned her wish to go to the United States for a ‘better future’ but did not tell him nor any of their family members that she was planning to make the trek.
‘I didn’t support it. I asked her, why? Why would she want to put our little girl through that? But it was her decision at the end of the day.’
He said that Sandra had always wanted to experience ‘the American dream’ and hoped to find a good job in the States.
Denis, who works as a captain at a port on the coast of Puerto Cortes, explained that things back home were fine but not great, and that his wife was seeking political asylum.
He said that Sandra set out on the 1,800-mile journey with the baby girl on June 3, at 6am, and he has not heard from her since.
‘I never got the chance to say goodbye to my daughter and now all I can do is wait’, he said, adding that he hopes they are either granted political asylum or are sent back home.
…The couple has three other children, son Wesly, 14, and daughters Cindy, 11, and Brianna, six.
…He said he heard from friends that his wife paid $6,000 for a coyote – a term for someone who smuggles people across the border.
‘I wouldn’t risk my life for it. It’s hard to find a good job here and that’s why many people choose to leave. But I thank God that I have a good job here. And I would never risk my life making that journey.’
The father also spoke to Univision a few days ago:
Time used the photo for its cover to attack President Trump over enforcing immigration laws.
Customs and Border Protection issued a statement about the mother, but not the child (privacy) to Buzzfeed:
“On June 12, 2018, Sandra Maria Sanchez, 32, a previously deported woman from Honduras illegally re-entered the United States,” . She was arrested by agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol near Hidalgo, Texas, while traveling with a family member. On June 17, 2018, Sanchez was transferred to ICE custody, and is currently housed at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. Her immigration proceedings are ongoing.
On July 3, 2013, Sanchez was encountered by immigration officials in Hebbronville, Texas. On July 9, 2013, she was transferred to ICE ERO custody. On July 18, 2013, Sanchez was removed to Honduras under expedited removal.”
SECOND UPDATE: Reuters reports the Honduran government confirms.
Valera said the little girl and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, have been detained together in the Texas border town of McAllen, where Sanchez has applied for asylum, and they were not separated after being detained near the border.
Honduran deputy foreign minister Nelly Jerez confirmed Valera’s version of events.
…Sanchez and her daughter had left Puerto Cortes, a major Honduran port north of the capital city, Tegucigalpa, without telling Valera or the couple’s three other children, he said.
He said he imagined that Sanchez left with the little girl for the United States, where she has family, in search of better economic opportunities.