Things That Matter

This Heartbreaking Interview With An 11-Year-Old Girl Sees Her Pleading For Her Parents To Not Be Deported

On Wednesday, not even a week after the mass shootings that took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, communities of color continued to suffer at the hands of the Trump administration. In what is being called the largest workplace raid in at least a decade, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested nearly 700 undocumented workers from different processing plants in Morton, Mississippi. 

Since the raids happened early in the day, many children were left behind to fend for themselves, without parents to pick them up from school or feed them. 

Scenes of the children’s devastating reactions quickly made rounds on social media. Many of them pleading to ICE officials to let their parents go back home with them. 

After the El Paso shooting in Texas, many survivors and witnesses, some of which were children, we also left wondering if they’d ever see their parents again or if they’d be next in losing their lives at the hands of a gunman. One 5-year-old even asked her grandparents, “is he going to come and shoot me?” With each passing day, children in the U.S. continue to undergo traumas that they shouldn’t be exposed to. 

Now, with ICE officials conducting more raids and ripping parents away from their children, we continue to see the dangerous and violent ways in which the Trump administration shows it doesn’t care at all for communities of color and let alone, the children. 

In a Facebook video recorded outside a plant in Morton, Mississippi, an 11-year-old girl can be heard sobbing and begging an officer for a chance to see her mother. “If I could just see my mother please,” the young girl says.

According to the Associated Press, most of the workers that were detained were also Latinx. These raids marked another blow to the Latinx community who continues to mourn over the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. But reports state that the raid had been planned for months, “long before a Texas man killed 22 people and injured 24 in El Paso, TX, his white supremacist manifesto promoting concerns of a ‘Hispanic invasion’ of the country.” 

Nevertheless, the raid on Wednesday left many children vulnerable and devastated. According to Mississippi news station WJTV, authorities said children affected by the raid would be placed with another family member, and they were also working with school officials to ensure the children would be cared for. But despite these reports, a journalist for WJTV said that many children who were left behind had nowhere to go. 

Another video of 11-year-old Magdalena also made rounds on social media where she’s seen being interviewed by journalists in tears, pleading for the return of her father.

“Let my parent be free, with everybody else… don’t leave the [children],” she says sobbing. “My dad didn’t do nothing. He’s not a criminal.” 

According to a Twitter video by WJTV’s Alex Love, children can be seen in distress waiting outside what seems to be a school waiting for more information on their parents. “Children of those arrested are left alone in the streets crying for help,” Love writes in his tweet. “Strangers and neighbors are taking them to a local gym to be put up for the night.” Many other community members also volunteered to feed the children by donating food and drinks for dinner. 

As more and more heartbreaking images and videos of children crying after they had been separated from their presents, many thought it wasn’t “ethical” or “right” to share the images and videos showcasing their pain. 

“I don’t think it’s ethical to take and post pictures of distraught children who have found out their parents have been kidnapped by ICE,” said one Twitter user Yasmin Yonis.  

It sparked conversation and some were in her mentions agreeing with her sentiment while other disagreed and thought it was necessary for people to circulate these images in order to evoke empathy.

 One Twitter user mentioned the “desensitization” of the nation and added that it’s a “scary thought that images of distraught toddlers can’t evoke empathy. Just my cents.” A scary thought that seems to be the reality. 

One Twitter user said they thought it was unethical to “obscure the suffering of children or anyone no matter the situation.” 

But at this point what is unclear about what’s happening? The public has seen migrant deaths in photos circulated through social media, we’ve seen parents in detention facilities, and now we’re seeing the trauma form in real-time with these videos of children crying, begging for their parents. 

We’ve gotten to a point where sharing these images of children heartbroken and devastated because their parents have been arrested by ICE is no longer necessary to evoke empathy. 

As immigration journalist, Tina Vasquez wrote for Playboy, “If white Americans need to see dead brown bodies to make sense of their own borders, then journalism will supply their demand. Under the Trump administration, there seems to be no end to America’s capacity to consume migrants’ suffering. After years of inaction and turning the other cheek, America wants to see it all. But then what?” 

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