Things That Matter

This Video Of Children Reading The Testimonies Of Migrant Children Detained By The U.S. Government Will Break Your Heart

It’s been a little over a year since news broke of the Trump administration ordering prosecutors along the border to immediately adopt a “zero-tolerance policy” for crossings across the U.S.-Mexico border. Under this policy, families were separated along the border, leaving migrant children alone in other Customers and Border Protection facilities. And leaving them alone with inhumane border patrol agents who have mistreated and had no empathy for these children. Since then, we’ve also witnessed just how little the Trump administration cares to reunite these children with their families after ripping them away. 

The New York Times published a video Op-Ed featuring children reading testimonies given by young migrants detained in detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border – and it’s harrowing. 

Although the video reveals what we already know and what we’ve already seen day after day on the news, it’s still painful to watch other young children – who could easily be in a similar situation – read the details of children living in cages and going hungry. 

“Border Patrol has been detaining thousands of children, sometimes for weeks, in conditions no child anywhere should suffer. At a June hearing before a federal appeals court, judges were stunned by the administration’s arguments that these children were kept in ‘safe and sanitary’ facilities, as required by the Flores Settlement,” reads the New York Times Op-Ed

“My skin is itchy and red and my nose is stuffed up,” one child reads. “It’s so ugly to be locked up all the time.”

According to reports released in April, it could take up to two years to identify thousands of separated immigrant families. Many immigration rights organizations and advocates have taken to social media and to the streets to fight for the reunification of migrant children with their families and there’s no sign of stopping. Especially after the continuous reports of migrant children dying at the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol agents. 

The New York Times’ latest video also isn’t the first time we hear firsthand accounts from migrant children detained in these inhumane facilities and cages. 

In a report released by BuzzFeed News in late June, more kids described in their own words the atrocious conditions inside a border detention center. “We are in a metal cage with 20 other teenagers with babies and young children. We have one mat we need to share with each other. It is very cold. We each got a mylar blanket, but it is not enough to warm up,” one 16-year-old said. 

You can watch the full video here: 

Here are more quotes of migrant children detained by the U.S. government:

“There isn’t water or soap to wash our hands after we use the bathroom. We have to ask for toilet paper if we want any. My sister and I hold a blanket up so no one can see us when we go to the bathroom.”

“I’m hungry here all the time. I’m so hungry I wake up in the middle of the night with hunger. I’m too scared to ask the officials for any more food.”

“We spend all day every day inside of that room. There are no activities. Only crying. During the two weeks we have been here they have let us outside 5 times. For twenty minutes. I would like to get some fresh air.”

The New York Times video quickly went viral on social media and many celebrities, public figures, and immigration rights organizations spoke up about the video.      

Canadian singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes tweeted, “Keep families together… Please support organizations like @supportKIND, that are working to #protectfamilies imprisoned at the border.” 

The largest immigration legal services non-profit in Texas, RAICES, also tweeted, “We demand #JusticeForOurChildren.”

RAICES works with under-served immigrant children, families, and refugees.   

The Children’s Defense Fund urged its followers to “listen to heartbreaking testimonies from children detained at the border.”  

They went on to describe the inhumane living conditions of these migrant children –– “living in cages, going hungry and tending to infants without their parents. #CloseTheCamps #KeepFamiliesTogether”       

National Board Member of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Tea Leoni tweeted that this video isn’t just a response to a #BorderCrisis – this is a humanitarian crisis.       

Leoni goes on to thank the New York Times for “shining a light on the horrible conditions that children are facing at the border.” 

If you want to help migrant children at the border imprisoned in detention centers, you can buy your #CloseTheCamps tee from Mitú here.  

Mitú is partnering with immigration rights organization RAICES and donating 100% of the proceeds to help the nonprofit continue their fight to free these children from detention centers. 

Aside from supporting and donating to your local or national advocacy organizations, you can also contact your elected officials, educate yourself with accurate information and share that information with family, friends, and followers. Remember, you can make a small impact by simply educating yourself and others. 

No one belongs in a cage. 

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