As a light has begun to be shone on some of the most inhumane immigration practices of the 21st-century, photojournalism has been a crucial medium in alerting Americans about what has occurred in the darkness, right under our noses. Recently, various haunting images of families being separated have been circulating and have left the world appalled. Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer John Moore is the photographer who captured the heart-shattering photo of the sobbing little girl as she helplessly watched her mother be frisked at the border. According to Moore, the two-year-old girl is a Honduran asylum-seeker that was recently taken into border patrol’s custody along with her mother under President Trump’s new “zero-tolerance” policy.
After the photo went viral on social media, TIME magazine used a remixed version of the photo for their cover of their magazine, and some people strongly believe that the little girl should be compensated similarly to how a high-fashion supermodel would be paid for use of her image in the same situation.
This wave of digital uproar was inspired by photographer and political activist John Ehrenfeld’s suggestion that publications using the girl’s picture should repay her.
In an interview with Raw Story, Enrenfeld said that the cover “had a big impact on him” and that it “breaks so many people’s hearts, not only for that particular girl but because she looks so much like anyone’s daughter. So, I just thought, everyone’s going on Facebook and Twitter and expressing outrage but the consensus is that people feel helpless. People acn vote in November, but it’s frustrating.”
Ehrenfeld initially considered setting up a GoFundMe page to cover legal fees and to potentially even pay for the young girl’s future educational opportunities. However, he realized that it would “be great if the girl could be paid by TIME,” noting that the magazine “could afford it.” With close to 2 million “affluent consumers, frequent travelers and senior business people” reading the publication every week, it is safe to say that TIME is more than capable of allotting some restitution to the young girl and her mother.
The image of the young child is already being circulated globally, and now this cover unofficially makes her the face of the dark side of recent U.S immigration policies. Therefore, I do believe that this young Honduran girl and her mother are entitled to some form of payment. Otherwise, TIME would essentially be exploiting their struggles to sell magazines. It is important to bring awareness to any atrocity going on in the world, especially one at such a high caliber of evil. However, American society has turned into one where no real, effective actions have been taken to amend flaws in our domestic conduct by legislators. Because of this, it is important now more than ever that we as citizens place an immense importance on our civic duties and use peaceful tactics (such as collectively raising funds towards the cause) to achieve what our Congress has not.
This ideology should not exclude major publications such as TIME who have the ability to use their platform on a scale greater than simply just reporting the news. By allocating a certain, affordable amount of money towards the mother’s legal fees or raising money for the young girl’s education, TIME would be making a small contribution towards repairing the damage done by the government. Furthermore, in a nation where 67% of its citizens believe that family separation is unacceptable, TIME would convey the message that while the United States is a country of laws, legality is not superior to morality in the eyes of the American public. Although cash is not going to genuinely provide any long-term reparations, it’s the right thing to do and the least the magazine could do as citizens and legislators alike begin the uphill battle to end this cruel and unusual practice for good.
Photo: ALP STUDIO via Unsplash