Critics have called the Trump administration’s practice of separating children and parents intercepted at the border “inhumane,” “cruel,” and “immoral” on principle.
A recording from a children’s detention facility shows what it sounds like in practice. Inconsolable children calling for their parents can be heard in the audio obtained by ProPublica. An adult man responds, apparently in jest: “We have an orchestra here.”
One girl, a six-year old from El Salvador, stands out. She insists on talking to her aunt. She eventually achieves her goal, according to ProPublica, which was able to reach the girl’s aunt.“It was the hardest moment in my life,” the aunt told the news outlet. “Imagine getting a call from your 6-year-old niece. She’s crying and begging me to go get her. She says, ‘I promise I’ll behave, but please get me out of here. I’m all alone.’”
The audio was recorded by an unnamed source last week at a US Customs and Border Patrol detention facility, where the children had apparently been held for less than a day after being separated from their parents. That person, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, gave the tape to a civil rights lawyer, who passed it on to ProPublica.
The audio of the children crying stands in contrast to a video released by the administration at a detention facility in McAllen, Texas. Though the government has provided some access to reporters, it has restricted the use of cameras.