When the Trump administration of the United States started separating migrant children from their parents at the border, we started looking for those detained children. Where were they? Who was holding them? What were the logistics? I'm Mike Blake from Reuters and I'm, as you can see, at the border wall between the United States and Mexico.
This is just west of San Ysidro border crossing. To my left down here is the Pacific Ocean where the border wall goes into the fence, and all the tear gas that went off a few weeks ago was right over across this wall here. Anyhow back to the story.
It's a Sunday afternoon in June, I get a call from an editor New York, they found where they think they're holding these kids. It's a small town, Tornillo, Texas, and I'm like, okay. I book a flight, head out first thing the next morning, jump in a small Cessna with the pilot.
Our first pass we come around and the pilot's trying to stay inside the US airspace so it's a little tight. It's really bumpy, I'm shooting with a 600 millimeter lens out of the back of the plane. Yeah, the first pass I saw all these kids in a row and they're all being escorted out of one larger tent to the smaller tents.
And we went around two more times and then we kinda got out of there. I didn't wanna stick around there. We were somewhat noticeable but not overly at 1,000 feet, but if we spun 360s around that place for awhile people would notice. So we flew back to this little airport in New Mexico.
And domestically in the US the pictures didn't get a lot of play, but the next day in Europe, those pictures they were everywhere, and it was now a really big news story. Talked to my editor in the morning and she was like yeah let's go up again, let's get some more stuff, so we basically repeated what we did.
Headed back, filed these pictures, and the next morning it was on the front of the Washington Post print edition, front of the New York Times print edition, and a couple hours into the morning, President Trump was signing a paper on his desk ending the policy of separating children from their parents at the border.