After a week of furor over the Trump administration’s controversial policy of separating immigrant children from parents, the new cover of TIME magazine cuts straight to the point: A small, crying girl being stared down by the leader of the free world.
Trump had initially responded to criticisms by claiming that it was not in his power to reverse the family separation policy, which his own administration had implemented. Under public pressure, Trump yesterday issued an executive order to do exactly that.
Today’s TIME cover juxtaposes a cutout photo of US president Trump in profile, with another cutout from a well-known image of a family being detained at the US-Mexico border. That original picture was captured by Getty photographer John Moore. In its original form, it showed the two-year-old girl reacting to her mother’s detention by a border agent in Texas. She is looking up at the agent, and the whole scene takes place in the desert, presumably illuminated by headlights.
In the illustration employed by TIME, the child looks with horror at Donald Trump, rather than the border patrol officer—effectively revealing the real power behind the family separation tactic.
With both law enforcement and mother abstracted from the picture, the cover prompts readers to mull the ultimate consequences of a policy that separated 2,300 children from their parents, and puts Trump, the power behind the policy, face-to-face with his most smallest victims.
Federal prosecutors of at least some detained parents have reportedly not been able to say where their children are being held. States far from the border, including Michigan and New York, have already received detained children who were flown in. Michigan’s civil rights department announced yesterday that one of the children was only three months old, adding in a statement that it, “along with people all over the nation, decry the forced separation of children from their parents taking place on our southern border.”
While the separation policy has officially been rolled back, how and when the government plans to reunite those children with their parents is unclear.