US and Canada

Painting of migrant children will hang in US Capitol

migrant children painting Image copyright Dominick Cocozza

A painting of two migrant children will hang in the US Capitol building for the next year.

The picture - which shows a boy and a girl holding a sign that reads "Bring our mom back" - is the work of 17-year-old Dominick Cocozza.

The artwork was one of the winning paintings from the Congressional Art Competition for high school students.

Students submit entries to their representative's office, and district judges select the winners.

Dominick, who moved to Virginia after being adopted from Guatemala, told the BBC the artwork did not reflect any aspect of his own life but was a subject close to his heart.

"I had seen some images online of children separated from their families and I thought that was an important issue to highlight," the Yorktown High School student told the BBC.

Image copyright @RepDonBeyer/Twitter

"Immigration is a human conflict that deserves an empathetic and legal solution."

Thousands of migrant children were separated from their families at the US-Mexico border going as far back as 2017 under a Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy.

The children were placed in shelters or foster care after undocumented adults accompanying them were caught entering the country without papers.

Virginia Democratic congressman Don Beyer told the BBC he was proud of his constituent's success.

"His [Dominick's] work expresses feelings that many of my constituents in Northern Virginia share," said the lawmaker.

He added: "I have no doubt that it will make a strong impression on the Members of Congress, staff, visitors, and tourists who pass it every day."

Dominick's artwork will hang in the Cannon Tunnel, which connects a congressional office building to the Capitol.


More on the separation story

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Media captionThe moment a migrant mother is reunited with her son