On June 18th, the news outlet ProPublica released audio recordings of children at the border who had just been separated from their parents. The recording was taken at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility, specifically, at detention center housing. There were about ten children in the recording, and their estimated ages were around 4-10.

The horrifying recording featured children wailing and begging to speak with their parents. This recording gives us even more insight into the cruel reality of America’s Zero-Tolerance Immigration Policy.

Among the children crying “Mama,” and “Papa,” a Border Patrol Agent can be heard saying, “We have an orchestra in here. Right? What we’re missing is a conductor!”

Children are confused, scared, and traumatized. Many state that this issue seems to parallel child abuse. The American Psychological Association addressed the inhumane practices and the health consequences that come with it.

“The administration’s policy of separating children from their families as they attempt to cross into the United States without documentation is not only needless and cruel, it threatens the mental and physical health of both the children and their caregivers.” -APA

Laurie Cook Heffron, Ph.D., also from APA, stated the following in reference to past scientific studies:

“Parents’ legal vulnerability, detention and deportation are strongly associated with depression, anxiety, fears of separation, social isolation, self-stigma, aggression, withdrawal and negative academic consequences among children”- Dr. Laurie Cook Heffron

The appalling sounds of these children crying out for their parents soon went viral; touching the hearts of parents, politicians, and American citizens alike. The recording was tweeted, played on news outlets, and was even played by reporters during the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Press conference.

Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security, denied hearing the recording of the sobbing children. She argued that she was not aware of the recording. “I have — I have not seen something that came out today…The image I want of this country is an immigration system that secures our border and upholds our humanitarian ideals. Congress needs to fix it.” Stated Nielsen. She went on to state that there were at least 2,000 of these separated children now being held in detention centers.

The recording has shown just how traumatizing these separations can be for children. The viral audio brought more attention and awareness to the inhumane practices being carried out by the U.S. government.

Featured Image via Google Images