It is a photo that has captured the attention and hearts of many. A mother running from tear gas, her children are both in diapers, one is barefoot. The mother ironically wearing a shirt featuring the Disney princesses from the movie Frozen, a movie about sisters fleeing their own dangerous situation. This family is real though and is today we are learning more about them(see NBC video above). BuzzFeed reports:
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Maria Meza, 39, of Honduras said she was standing by the border fence with her five children when Border Patrol agents fired at least three tear gas canisters at them.
“I felt sad, I was scared. I wanted to cry. That’s when I grabbed my daughters and ran,” Meza told BuzzFeed News. “I thought my kids were going to die with me because of the gas we inhaled.”
The photo was taken by Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon. He had been following the caravan for two weeks when he spotted this family. Kyung-Hoon writes:
After nearly two weeks of documenting the harrowing journey of a caravan of mostly Central American migrants headed towards the U.S.-Mexican border, I snapped a picture I will never forget.
Kim saw the woman as she started running from the smoke, holding her 5-year-old twin daughters with both hands. Her teenage son was running next to her, Kim said. A Reuters spokeswoman confirmed that the woman had traveled from Honduras to Mexico with all of her five children.
Kim followed the family as they rushed back toward Tijuana, crossing a river and climbing up a concrete barrier. He said he felt the sting in his eyes and nose even with the mask on. When they got to the top, one of the twins began crying, her tiny face full of anguish as she held on to what looks like a small plastic ball. Kim said the girl was pointing toward her bare feet. She had just lost her slippers.
This mother caught in a photo fleeing tear gas at the US-Mexico border with her kids says she thought they were going to die. pic.twitter.com/tUkDdQptYo
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 27, 2018
Meza and her children said they had already spent a week at a Tijuana shelter, but they will likely have to wait much longer for a chance to ultimately plead their case.
She said she hopes to be granted asylum in the United States due to rampant crime back home, and if successful will travel to Louisiana, where the girls’ father lives.