'Let Me Pass, I Beg of You': Photo of Migrant Mother and Child Pleading With Mexican Soldier to Let Them Reach U.S. Goes Viral

A photo of a Guatemalan mother pleading with a Mexican National Guard soldier to let her and her child continue on to the U.S. border has gone viral, shining a light on the plight of asylum seekers hoping to reach American soil.

In the photo, captured by Reuters photographer José Luis González on Monday, the mother, who has been identified as Lety Pérez of Guatemala, can be seen crouched down on the ground with one hand wrapped around her son. She covers her tear-stricken face with the other during an encounter with a soldier in In Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Video of the moment, which was published by Mexico's El Universal, shows how the scene unfolds. Pérez cries out to the unidentified soldier: "Let me pass, I bet of you."

"Don't let them send me back," she says. "I just want to give my son a better life."

Pérez's plea is emblematic of those of the thousands upon thousands of asylum seekers hoping to secure a better life in the U.S. for themselves and their families after making the long and often perilous journey from Central America's Northern Triangle.

It also comes amid Mexico's crackdown on immigration, which was ramped up in response to threats from the Trump administration to slap tariffs on goods from the country unless it strengthened efforts to prevent asylum seekers from making their way tot he U.S. border.

Since the photo of Pérez's encounter with the Mexican soldier was first published, many have shared it on social media, with former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan calling the image the "pic du jour" in a post that has been retweeted more than 1,500 times.

Pic du jour, via @axios: “In Ciudad Juarez, #Mexico, yesterday, Guatemalan migrant Lety Perez embraces her son Anthony as she prays for a member of the Mexican National Guard to let them cross into the U.S.” pic.twitter.com/BSmFeEMFHO

— Arturo Sarukhan (@Arturo_Sarukhan) July 23, 2019

"What a shame" former Mexican president Felipe Calderón said, retweeting Sarukhan's post. "The government of Mexico shouldn't have accepted this."

"The photograph of a migrant woman who cries before an agent of the National Guard in Mexico shakes the conscience," one social media user wrote in a tweet translated from Spanish.

"These headlines break my heart," another wrote. "Let her plead her case for asylum! This isn't the way it's supposed to work!"

"Since when has La Guardia Nacional become an extension of ICE of the United States," another said. "Shame on you."

It is unclear whether Pérez and her child were able to make their way to the U.S. border or if they were forced to remain in Mexico or turn back to the country they fled.

An activist draws a sign to welcome refugees to the U.S. Getty Images