Is It Fair to Use Audio of Crying Children in Immigration Protests?

There is currently no justice for refugees seeking asylum in our country right now — especially those who have made the long, dangerous trip across the border with a child or baby in their arms. Is it any wonder then that Trump administration officials promoting these policies are struggling to find any peace as activists and lawmakers hold them accountable for their cruelty?

But one tactic, playing the audio of sobbing, crying migrant children who have been ripped from the care of their families and left alone in detention centers, is gaining in popularity. Is it justice to force Republicans to listen to the sounds of the tears of those they hurt — or is it harassment?

Crying children served as the backdrop of a protest at Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s home, where immigration activists bore signs calling her a “Child Snatcher” and chanted “Free the Kids” and “Shame.”  The action, which was organized by CREDO Mobile, served as a personal and direct confrontation for a secretary who studiously avoided the issue of children in cages in a previous press conference.

The audio of the children wasn’t just played at Nielsen’s home, either. California Congressman Ted Lieu shared the recording on the House floor, stating:

 If the Statue of Liberty could cry, she would be crying today. As I stand here there are 2,300 babies and kids who are ripped away from their parents by our government and are in detention facilities across America.

Lieu made it less than a minute into his audio before GOP Rep. Karen Handel (R – GA) accused him of “breaking decorum” for playing sound from an audio device.

Politico reports:

Lieu argued there is no rule that prohibits lawmakers from playing audio of a detention center. He stood at the podium next to a photograph of immigrants in a detention center wrapped in foil blankets. Several people gathered on the rostrum with Handel and looked at what appeared to be a booklet. Handel continued to bang the gavel and repeat: “The gentleman will suspend.” After about five minutes, Lieu stopped playing the clip. “I yield back,” he said.

Lieu isn’t alone in playing the audio clip obtained by ProPublica. CNN’s Chris Cillizza calls it the audio “that changed the immigration debate.”

Cillizza writes:

Earlier in the week, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez did the same thing — playing the audio on the floor of the world’s greatest deliberative body. Protestors played the audio outside of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s house. New York magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi played the audio during White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ daily briefing. It became the soundtrack of the week in politics — and in the culture more broadly. The terrified cries and wails of the children bored into you, made it impossible for you to ignore their plight — and the policy that led them to such a sad state.

With such a powerful and evocative recording, no wonder the GOP wants it to just go away.

The audio has already been heard in press conferences and on the congressional floor, and now it will be used as the backdrop of multi-million dollar midterm campaign ad buys in an effort to unseat Republicans who refuse to stand up for refugees seeking asylum.

But is that enough? Should it be played in the background at ever public appearance of every GOP candidate from now until November? Is it wrong to make crying children the sound that plays “in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station,” a fitting way to enact Rep. Maxine Waters’ cry to action against the Trump regime?

Is forcing the people who are separating children from their mothers to listen to the literal impact of their actions truly an “uncivil” act, or a “breach of decorum?

No, not while children remain in cages.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

51 comments

MilliSiteProbs M
MilliSiteProbs M4 months ago

Sussanne R. Better late than never, not that you will ever read this. What are you on about, detractor, I am not the only one that made that comment. Quote Why would Milli want to lead us to believe that this story isn't real? {where did you pull that from} Why would one deny the the trauma and terror of babies, toddlers and young children? End Quote. Would you rather they be detained in jail with their parents, we don't put children in jail now do we, maybe that is something Obama did? Read my comment or jump to conclusions? Don't put your spin on my comment, if you believe anything of the sort, you apparently need to bone up on your reading skills. The point is Robin never tells the truth and you believe her, fall for it hook, line and sinker, and that tells me all I need to know.

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Susanne R
Susanne R4 months ago

Anyone who clicks on the "Pro Publica" link, which is included in Marty's article, can clearly see that the words "Mami" and "Papa" were used by the children. The link is there. To deny or create a conspiracy theory out of the plight of these desperate families is deplorable.

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Susanne R
Susanne R4 months ago

Mary B: It appears that a detractor is leading readers astray...

From the Washington Post - 6/19/17
"The practice of separating children from their parent, a result of the Trump administration’s new hard-line immigration enforcement policy, has unfolded largely in the dark, separated from the public and restricted from the media.

But on Monday, the nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica published what it said was a recording made inside one of the facilities run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection where children taken from their parents are housed.

The audio includes the sounds of a chorus of children sobbing and asking for their parents, some in what sounds like significant levels of distress. They call out "Daddy!” and "Mommy!" - in Spanish - repeatedly. Others sob so hard it seems they are gasping for air."

PLEASE NOTE: The article clearly states that the children were calling out for their parents in Spanish. Why would Milli want to lead us to believe that this story isn't real? Why would one deny the the trauma and terror of babies, toddlers and young children? At the very least, allow them their grief!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/06/18/a-secret-recording-captures-the-sounds-of-crying-children-separated-from-parents-at-the-border/?utm_term=.2ea6dabf891b

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Mary B
Mary B4 months ago

No, it is not okay to use that sound clip every where for prolonged periods of time. All that will do is turn people off from caring about the immigrants and their children. They will hate the sound and any one connected with it. It has had it's effect , so drop it. It can be brought up again, but first explain why south American toddlers are calling their parents daddy and mommy. This is a red flag that makes the very real situation questionable. Anyone suggesting using this as a soundtrack is using bogus tactics. Don't fall for it. It's like advertisers who will flood you with ads after you've just bought a 6 month supply of their product.. Marketers are not bright
people.

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Susanne R
Susanne R4 months ago

Why is it that conservatives don't want to hear the cries of terrified children but don't mind in the least that already-traumatized women entering abortion clinics are subjected to having large posters depicting aborted fetuses or even jars with formaldehyde-preserved fetal remains pushed into their faces? Why is it that existing children don't matter to them, but non-viable fetuses do? The children who are being separated from the only security they know were once fetuses --and they weren't aborted-- but some people are behaving as though they should have. It's the same, tired old story: they prevent women from having abortions, but forget about the mother and child as soon as they have forced their will on them and they need help to get by. Now that's the height of hypocrisy.

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MilliSiteProbs M
MilliSiteProbs M4 months ago

Mike Kelly Aw come on Mike you know darn well the same thing has been happening for years, including all 8 long years of Obama. Is your Head in the sand maybe?

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MilliSiteProbs M
MilliSiteProbs M4 months ago

Sorry Robin, I have never heard a Mexican child call its mother, mommy or father daddy for that matter, maybe the odd one here and there that are 3rd or 4th generation born in the USA. Your rhetoric is getting pretty darn sickening, but then you have to fall in line or what, be fired from C2 (that would be the best thing ever along with a couple of others(.

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Mike A.
Mike A.4 months ago

When have you ever heard a Mexican baby scream mommy??? It was a setup.

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan H4 months ago

Wow - they take children away from their parents, and people wonder if it is 'fair' to show/hear the children crying? What is wrong with these people? Did no one ever show them love? Have they never felt love, or empathy?

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Chad A
Chad A4 months ago

Thank you.

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