FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show ‘Kids In Cages’ During The Obama Administration

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 17,000 times purportedly shows children being held in a detention center during the Obama administration.



Verdict: False

The photo was taken in 2019 during a congressional visit to a border detention center.

Fact Check:

The post makes the claim that the photo was taken in 2014 while seemingly referencing a comment former First Lady Michelle Obama made during her address at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. The photo appears to show minors held in a migrant detention facility.

“‘Kids in cages’ taken in 2014 under the Obama admin.,” reads the caption. “Did Michelle Obama care about the kids in cages then?”

While the Obama administration did build facilities to house migrant children at the border, the photo being shared wasn’t taken in 2014. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact discovered the photo was actually taken in 2019, during the Trump administration.

California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier tweeted the original photo in July 2019.

“The 1st sounds we heard before we could see the children held at Ursula were haunting cries of babies & toddlers,” Speier wrote. “I spoke to a dad of a sick 6-month-old girl. She was flushed, listless, her little fists clung tightly to his shirt. Flu, meningitis, typhus, lice & more.”

A spokesperson for Speier’s office confirmed to Check Your Fact in an email that a staffer took the photo that Speier tweeted while touring border detention facilities in 2019, during the Trump administration. (RELATED: Have Immigrant Child Detentions Increased By 433 Percent?)

More than a dozen congressional Democrats, including Speier, toured border detention facilities in Texas in July 2019, according to CNN. The Trump administration had recently come under fire for reports of poor conditions, including overcrowding and a lack of toiletries, at some of its holding facilities, the Washington Post reported in June last year.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].