Photographer Reveals Heartbreaking Story Behind Viral Photo of Crying Toddler at the Border

He said the photo made him emotional.

The photographer behind the heartbreaking image of a 2-year-old girl crying as her mom is being searched at the U.S.-Mexico border is now sharing the story behind the poignant photo. 

John Moore, a Getty Images photographer who has been documenting migrants at the border for 10 years, captured the harrowing picture on June 12 in Rio Grande Valley. He described the moment as "very difficult to see."

"[The mother] was told to set the child down while she was searched. The little girl immediately started crying," the photographer told NPR on Sunday. "I took only a few photographs and was almost overcome with emotion myself."

In the interview, Moore said the mother of the toddler told him they had traveled from Honduras and had been on the road for about a month. 

The group, seeking asylum from violence in their own countries, had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico, and were then detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents before they were sent to a processing center.

But what was even more upsetting about the photo Moore captured of the toddler was the family's uncertain future as the Trump administration doubles down on its new "zero tolerance policy."

The policy, announced in May, says children can be separated from their parents if apprehended families enter the country illegally.

Many are outraged at the policy, calling it inhumane. 

Last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that fear of domestic abuse or gang violence would no longer be an acceptable basis for granting asylum.

"The Trump administration’s 'zero tolerance' policy for undocumented immigrants calls for the separation of parents and children while their cases for political asylum are adjudicated, a process that can take months — or years," Moore wrote on Instagram.

Moore said he is not sure what happened to the mother and daughter after they were rushed into a van and driven away.

“As a photojournalist, it's my role to keep going, even when it's hard," Moore told NPR. "But as a father — and I have a toddler myself — it was very difficult to see what was happening in front of my lens and thinking what it would be like for my kids to be separated from me."