Sophie’s Choice is the title of a 1979 novel by William Styron, and in 1982 Sophie’s Choice was made into a critically acclaimed film starring Meryl Streep. In the novel, which is set during World War II, the title character must choose between the lives of her two children while imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz.
In this case, a three-year-old Honduran girl was asked to choose which of her parents could stay with her, while the other was sent away. The dark irony of what they were asking of the three-year-old who they called "Sofi" apparently didn't register with the border agents who were "just doing their job" [sic].
This is what we've become in 2019.
At a Border Patrol holding facility in El Paso, Texas, an agent told a Honduran family that one parent would be sent to Mexico while the other parent and their three children could stay in the United States, according to the family. The agent turned to the couple's youngest daughter — 3-year-old Sofia, whom they call Sofi — and asked her to make a choice.
"The agent asked her who she wanted to go with, mom or dad," her mother, Tania, told NPR through an interpreter. "And the girl, because she is more attached to me, she said mom. But when they started to take [my husband] away, the girl started to cry. The officer said, 'You said [you want to go] with mom.' "
Tania and her husband, Joseph, said they spent parts of two days last week trying to prevent the Border Patrol from separating their family. They were aided by a doctor who had examined Sofi and pleaded with agents not to separate the family, Joseph and Tania said. [NPR is not using migrants' last names in this story because these are people who are in the middle of immigration proceedings.]