Recording captures crying children after separation from their parents at US Border

19 June 2018

Recording captures crying children after separation from their parents at US Border

Kids lie on thin mattresses using large foil sheets as blankets. Image credit: ABC News

News agency ProPublica has obtained an audio recording from within the US Customs and Border Protection facility, in which 10 Central American children can be heard crying and wailing after they were separated by their parents last week.

The distraught children repeatedly cry out for their ‘Mami’ and ‘Papá’, while one Border Patrol worker makes a joke saying, “Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor.”

A determined six-year-old Salvadorian girl can also be heard continually pleading to call her aunt. She begs the Border Patrol workers for just one phone call. She tells them that she has memorised the number, which at one point she repeats. “My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt,” she whimpers, “and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible.”

The audio, which lasts for nearly 8 minutes, presents distressing evidence of the “zero tolerance” immigration policy supported by US president Donald Trump’s administration, which has been under heavy scrutiny lately by human right’s advocates, the media and the public.

More than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents since US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions announced the policy which aims to prosecute all people who attempt to illegally enter the country and take away the children who have come with them.

The children are initially held in warehouses, tents or big store boxes before they have been transported into Border Protection facilities. Further outrage has surfaced from photographs which displays the children being kept in metal, cage-like cells with large foil sheets strewn across the ground, serving as blankets. Making the environment even more distressing for the children, the overhead lighting within the warehouses are kept on around the clock.

Kids sit on benches inside a cage. Image credit: ABC News

The Trump administration has continued to stand by the policy, stating that it is the Democrats who have failed to close immigration loop holes.

Mr Trump wrote the following on Monday:

Opposers of the policy, which have proved to significantly outweigh its supporters, have called the separation of children from their parents a serious humanitarian crisis.

Former First Lady, Laura Bush, has spoken out, saying the current administration’s practices are “cruel” and “immoral” and likened the images of immigrant children being held in kennels to those that came out of Japanese internment camps during WWII.

The aunt of the six-year-old Salvadorian girl was reached via telephone by ProPublica, who said, “I know she’s not an American citizen [speaking of her niece]. But she’s a human being. She’s a child. How can they treat her this way?”