May 29, 2018 1:47 pm

Photos of immigrant children sleeping in cages in U.S. go viral — but they’re from 2014

WATCH: Trump admin backs rule separating immigrant parents from their kids, blames Democrats

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Viral photos showing detainees at the U.S.-Mexico border in steel cages caused outrage online, with many social media users calling out U.S. President Donald Trump for unethical immigration practices.

“This is how America houses undocumented children stolen from their parents,” one tweet posted Monday read.

Similar messages were also shared by activists and journalists, including The New York Times’ editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein.

Barack Obama’s former speechwriter, Jon Favreau, was one of the most notable figures to share them.

READ MORE: Ivanka Trump under fire for ‘tone-deaf’ photo hugging her son

“This is happening right now, and the only debate that matters is how we force our government to get these kids back to their families as fast as humanly possible,” Favreau wrote in a tweet, which has since been deleted.

But the photos are actually from 2014 — when Obama was president.

In this June 18, 2014 file photo, two female detainees sleep in a holding cell, as the children are separated by age group and gender, as hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, Ariz.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

They were taken by Ross D. Franklin, a photographer from The Associated Press, at a centre run by the Customs and Border Protection Agency in Nogales, Ariz.

It’s unclear why they resurfaced on social media, but Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to condemn Democrats for spreading false information about immigration.

“Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama’s term showing children from the Border in steel cages,” he wrote.

“They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires. Dems must agree to Wall and new Border Protection for good of country…Bipartisan Bill!”

While this photo may not be from the time of Trump’s presidency, the discourse surrounding immigration has been tense.

WATCH: Trump says working on stopping illegal immigration, preventing ‘gangs’ pouring across border

‘Zero tolerance’ under Trump

There have been reports that since October about 700 children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border have been separated from their parents.

That number is expected to jump once Trump’s new “zero tolerance” policy is enacted, which would enforce criminal charges against people crossing the border illegally with few or no previous offences.

That means children will be separated from parents who are jailed.

— With files from The Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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