I am sure you’ve seen this photo. It’s gone viral around the social media circles over the last several days. Before I continue, let’s be clear. I am no supporter of the Trump family separation policy. I think it is inhumane and is a horrible reflection of how Trump and his administration think about immigrants and people of color. I also think it has the opposite effect of what is intended. But no matter our opinions, it is important that we try to stick to the facts.
Here is an example of the photo in a tweet:
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
The author of the tweet above is suggesting that the current government policies are a slippery slope that leads to children in cages and is using this photo to punctuate that point. But the photo seems to have taken a life of its own on Twitter and the social media sphere, with many people seeing it as evidence that the Trump administration is caging immigrant children.
The facts are that this photo is not of a boy in a cage in some border detention center. And it is not evidence that the Trump administration is caging young children. Snopes fact-checked this, and it is a photo of a boy who was participating in a protest against family separation held at Dallas City Hall on June 10. The protesters set up a mock cage and the boy was photographed inside that mock cage.
Here is a photo from that event, where you can see the boy from the photo walking outside the “cage” with the other child protesters inside:
You can see the full set of photos from the event here:
I get it. This is a divisive issue, people get emotionally invested, and the rhetoric heats up. But to remain credible in our arguments we need to guard against spreading disinformation. To use this photo as a symbol of the Trump administration putting young children in cages is dishonest.
In the fight against the lies and corruption of the administration, we need to honor to the values of truth and honesty. I know it seems like an unfair fight when the other side shamelessly lies and dissembles. But we must remain steadfast. The end does not justify the means.