The Trump administration’s policy of separating undocumented immigrant parents from their children is a moral abomination, but one that, in its sheer size and scope, is sometimes only thought of in abstract terms.
That’s why it’s important to listen to this new recording obtained by CNN, featuring two undocumented mothers pleading before an immigration judge to be reunited with their children and allowed asylum to the United States.
The audio is very difficult to listen to, but it offers a taste of the very real suffering the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policy is inflicting.
“Your honor, I want to say also that when I had the interview, some questions I did understand and others I did not,” one of the women tells Judge Robert Powell at Texas’ Port Isabel Detention Center, via an interpreter. “At that time I was feeling very desperate because I was separated from my son. My son remained back at the ice box, he was on the floor, and I didn’t know anything about my son at that time.
“I am begging your honor, please, do not remove me from the country,” she adds. “Do it for me or for my son, I have nothing else and I am a single mother, I’m begging you.”
When Judge Powell asks the second woman about her asylum claim, in which she said that she feared returning to her native country after being raped by her uncle, all she can do is respond that she “feels ill.”
According to CNN, both women’s asylum claims were denied:
Both women were told they could speak with their deportation officer about being reunited with their children. The administration has been offering separated parents the choice to be deported with or without their children.
CNN has confirmed neither woman has been deported yet. A federal judge has ordered the reunion of all separated families barring safety concerns and has temporarily paused any deportations of reunited families.
I have reached out to the Department of Justice for comment on the recordings, and will update this story if they respond.