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ProPublica Releases Audio of Separated Children Sobbing “Mama” and “Papi”

HeadlineJun 19, 2018

Outrage is continuing to mount over the Trump administration’s practice of forcibly taking children away from their parents, which the American Academy of Pediatrics calls “government-sanctioned child abuse.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning news outlet ProPublica released audio from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, in which children estimated to be between the ages of 4 and 10 years old are heard crying “Mama” and “Papi” after being separated from their parents. A warning: the audio is disturbing.

Children: [wailing]

In another part of the audio, a Border Patrol agent is heard joking, in Spanish, “Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor.” Only minutes after this audio was released, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen began a White House press briefing, during which she repeatedly lied by claiming only congressional action could stop the practice of separating children and parents. During the briefing, a reporter from New York magazine played the audio of the children weeping out loud, leading one reporter to ask Kirstjen, “How is this not child abuse?”

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