Reuters and CBS media used a misleading headline that implied that a member of the Mexican National Guard was preventing a desperate mother with her 6-year-old son from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
The report was published with photos taken by Reuters journalist José Luis González under the headline “Reuters photo captures Guatemalan mother begging a soldier to let her enter U.S.”
CBS published a very similar headline for the story: “Dramatic photo captures migrant mom pleading with border guard as she tries to enter U.S. with son.”
However, neither headline tells the whole story and they imply something that did not happen.
Ledy Perez, a Guatemalan citizen, approached the Mexican border in Ciudad Juarez with her 6-year-old son and, according to Reuters, “fell to her haunches, a clenched hand covering her face as she wept, an arm clutching her small 6-year-old son, who glared defiantly at the Mexican National Guard soldier blocking them from crossing into the United States.“
“The woman begged and pleaded with the National Guard to let them cross … she wanted to cross to give a better future,” the news explained, adding that the soldier replied “that he was only following orders.”
The news highlighted the fact that one-third of the new Mexican security corps, the National Guard, was assigned to reduce immigration to “placate President Donald Trump’s demands of stemming the flow of U.S.-bound migrants.”
However, late in the news article there is statement by a spokesman for Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government, Jesús Ramírez, who made it clear that the soldier at no time prevented the mother from passing, but warned her of the dangers involved in crossing the border.
“The Guard combats the crime of people trafficking and protects the human rights of the population and the migrants crossing the country,” Ramírez said, according to Reuters.
Indeed, the same photographer who captured the moment published an image where you see the mother with her little one crossing the river that acts as a natural border between the two states without being persecuted or disturbed by soldiers.
López Obrador deployed the National Guard in an effort to reduce drug and human trafficking along the border, but made it clear in June, said Reuters, that they had no orders to detain immigrants attempting to cross illegally.
According to Reuters, the woman was detained once on U.S. soil by a border guard, who provided them with medical attention before beginning to prosecute her case.