FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Migrant Children ‘In Cages In America’?
An image shared on Facebook over 1,000 times purportedly shows migrant children being held in small chain-link cages at a detention center.
The images show an art exhibition that features child-sized mannequins.
The image appears to show children being held in individual cages with tin foil blankets. The caption reads, “If you are wondering if these are dogs, no…they are children in cages in America…this is not a debate. This is not political. This is inhumane. I dont (sic) care if you’re illegal or not this is absolutely disgusting. Im (sic) so embarrassed by our country…God help us..#abolishice.”
Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the photo in question in a Des Moines Register article about the Iowa Caucuses in February. The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) set up such art installations containing child-size mannequins under foil blankets, according to the Des Moines Register.
The cages appeared outside caucus sites and other locations, playing crying noises and bearing signs that read “#DontLookAway,” according to CNN. They were meant to represent children separated from their families within the U.S. immigration system, the outlet reported. RAICES has set up art exhibitions in other American cities as well, including New York City, as reported by Forbes.
The Trump administration instituted a “zero tolerance” policy in 2018 aimed at prosecuting all adults who illegally cross the border that, according to The New York Times, led to separation of children from their parents. Reuters reported in June 2018 that the administration backed away from its policy of family separation at the border via executive order.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union claimed 900 children had been separated from their families since the executive order went into effect, Reuters reported in 2019. The ACLU claimed in court that the separations were justified using exceptions such as a parent’s criminal history or potential threat posed to the child, according to the outlet.