The Trump administration again doubled down on its policy of separating families at the border as heartbreaking audio of crying children in a so-called immigration shelter fuelled further outrage over the approach.
“Papa! Papa!” one child weeps as screams and cries of others are heard in a audio clip released by ProPublica, a US-based media outlet, on Monday.
“Well, we have an orchestra here, right?” a Border Patrol agent is heard saying in the clip. “What’s missing is a conductor.”
According to ProPublica, the clip was obtained from prominent civil rights attorney Jennifer Harbury who was given the audio by an unidentified individual who recorded the children in a detention centre.
The now-viral clip has fuelled anger that continues to mount against US President Donald Trump, whose administration has introduced a “zero-tolerance” approach towards migrants and refugees who cross the US southern border without documents.
Part of the policy has been separating children from their parents who are detained.
Inside a detention center last week. Children separated from their parents wail and ask for help.
A Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” he jokes. “What’s missing is a conductor.”
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) June 18, 2018
Last week, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman said that nearly 2,000 minors were separated from 1,940 adults who crossed the US border without documents between April 19 and May 31.
Administration officials say they are simply following the law, however, there are no statutes that mandate separating children from families at the border.
On Monday, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, faced a number of questions from White House reporters over the practice. She again blamed the policy on politicians, saying that “Congress alone can fix it”.
However, critics point out that the administration can simply end the “zero-tolerance” approach. Rights groups accuse Trump of using the issue as a way to pressure Democrats into pushing through immigration reform legislation that includes fundi