The father of the 2-year-old Honduran girl that became the face of the media’s recent attack on the Trump administration for its “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration says that she was never separated from her mother at the border and that the mother abandoned her three other children and paid a human smuggler thousands of dollars to illegally enter the United States, all against his wishes.
In an explosive interview with the Daily Mail, Denis Javier Varela Hernandez revealed that his wife, Sandra, had always wanted to move to the U.S. to have access to better economic opportunities, but that she left with their daughter without telling anyone. The Mail reports:
Denis said his wife and daughter were never separated by border control agents and remain together. …
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 he heard from friends that his wife paid $6,000 for a coyote – a term for someone who smuggles people across the border.
“I didn’t support it,” Hernandez told The Mail. “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.”
“I don’t have any resentment for my wife, but I do think it was irresponsible of her to take the baby with her in her arms because we don’t know what could happen,” Hernandez added.
Speaking about how his other three kids are handling the situation, Hernandez said, “The kids see what’s happening. They’re a little worried but I don’t try to bring it up that much. They know their mother and sister are safe now.”
Hernandez’s claims come after the media and the Democrats used the photo to try to portray the Trump administration as being heartless toward immigrants, specifically young children.
Various individuals on the political Left then used the photo to score political points, either suggesting or stating as fact that she had been separated from her family.
POWERFUL cover from @Time.
Welcome to America.
Sadly, torturing children by snatching them from their parents – and then sending them off with strangers thousands of miles away is how Donald Trump feels powerful. pic.twitter.com/DZ68J1a666
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) June 21, 2018
Major national news publications ran with the image, noting that it was now the face of the campaign against the Trump administration’s immigration policy of separating families at the border even though this has been going on for years and is not new to his administration.
CNN wrote: “The crying girl is quickly becoming the human face of President Donald Trump’s new ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy, which has resulted in separations of undocumented parents and kids.”
USA Today wrote: “Since June 12, the photo has been shared thousands of times on social media and is currently the cover photo for a Facebook campaign raising money for legal fees to reunite children separated from their parents at the border.”
The Washington Post wrote: “By now, millions of people have seen a photo of a 2-year-old girl screaming while a U.S. border agent pats down her mother. Taken last Tuesday, the image has become a symbol of the Trump administration’s new ‘zero tolerance’ border policies, which have caused hundreds of children to be removed from the parents who brought them here.”