A photo is making the rounds on social media of a little boy stuck inside a cage and which many immigration advocates say is a depiction of how the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy is separating kids from their families. However, many people sharing the photo are unaware of its original context.
The photo gained traction on Twitter last week after journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas tweeted the photo with the caption: “This is what happens when a government believes people are ‘illegal.’ Kids in cages.”
This is what happens when a government believes people are “illegal.”
Kids in cages. pic.twitter.com/OAnvr9cl3P
— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) June 12, 2018
Many others shared the photo with a few words torching the Trump administration’s immigration policies and encouraged others to share the picture.
Although many social media users claimed the boy in the photo was an illegal immigrant trapped in a cage by immigration authorities, the photo is actually from a June 10 protest staged outside of Dallas City Hall, according to the fact-checking website Snopes.
Snopes pointed out that the activists staged their demonstration outside the city hall to protest the Trump administration’s practice of taking illegal immigrant families into custody and separating the children from the adults being charged with illegally entering the United States.
The Texas chapter of the Brown Berets de Cemanahuac — the group behind the protest — posted several photos of the event to Facebook with some images showing a portable cage with protesters holding up signs.
According to one of the photos from the event, the same boy depicted standing inside the cage in the viral photo stood outside of it.
Leroy Pena, the leader of the Brown Berets’ group, told CNN the toddler was not in the cage that long and had tried to follow his older sibling who took part in the Dallas protest.
“He got confused on how to get out (of the cage) and cried when he saw his mother,” Pena said. “He was only in there about 30 seconds.”
Once Vargas found out the photo was taken out of context, he defended his posting because he wanted to make a point about Trump’s illegal immigration policies.
“Telling me that I shouldn’t post an image that, as it happened, was from a protest that staged what is actually happening at the border is like saying actors shouldn’t portray characters and situations based in real life,” Vargas wrote on Twitter. “This is not a ’cause’ for me. This is real.”