Tuesday, July 16, 2024

In audio clip children at the border can be heard desperately crying for their parents

“I don’t want them to stop my father,” a child whispers in Spanish. “I don’t want them to deport him.”

And so begins an excruciating audio clip of children howling for their parents after being separated from them at the US-Mexico border. The audio which was published Monday by the investigative nonprofit ProPublica adds a visceral element to the coverage of the controversial policy that is taking undocumented immigrant children from their families and putting them in government facilities on US borders.

Cries of “Mami” and “Papá” build over a cacophony of wails and sobs. An adult on the recording compares the wrenching cries to an “orchestra”, “What’s missing is a conductor,” says the man in Spanish, whom ProPublica identifies as a border agent.

According to ProPublica, the audio was recorded last week inside a US Customs and Border Protection detention facility. The person who made the recording gave the audio to civil rights attorney Jennifer Harbury, who provided it to ProPublica.

The person who made the recording estimated that the children are between 4 and 10 years old. “It appeared that they had been at the detention center for less than 24 hours, so their distress at having been separated from their parents was still raw,” the ProPublica report said. “Consulate officials tried to comfort them with snacks and toys. But the children were inconsolable.”

In the audio, one child begs for someone to call her aunt. She says she knows her phone number and that her mother has said her aunt will come for her.

ProPublica said it was able to reach the girl’s aunt using her phone number but the aunt said she could not help her niece because she and her own 9-year-old daughter are seeking asylum. The aunt told ProPublica that the little girl is in a shelter, and she has been warned by authorities that her mother may be deported without her.

“It was the hardest moment in my life,” the woman said, according to ProPublica. “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.”