CNN releases audio of separated mothers begging for their children in immigration court

Greg Nash

Audio recordings obtained by CNN captures two mothers pleading with an immigration judge to help reunite them with their children after they had been separated. 

The judge in the recordings, Robert Powell, denies their request to stay in the United States and refers their cases back to the Department of Homeland Security for removal proceedings. 


The two separate hearings captured in the recordings took place at the immigration court at Port Isabel Detention Center on two separate days in July, according to CNN.

In one of the hearings, a woman pleads with Powell not to have her removed from the country, recounting how she was separated from her seven-year-old son and told that he was somewhere in Texas. 

“I am begging your honor, please, do not remove me from the country,” the woman says in Spanish. A translation of the hearing was published by CNN. “Do it for me or for my son, I have nothing else and I am a single mother, I’m begging you.”

The woman’s attorney argues that she was not mentally fit to be interviewed, but that claim is ultimately rejected by Powell. 

In the other hearing, another woman tells the judge that she feels too ill to move forward with the hearing. She tells Powell: “I cannot continue with this anymore. What I want is to be with my son,” according to CNN. 

Neither hearing lasts longer than 10 minutes. 

The recordings show the mental and emotional strain experienced by immigrant parents that have been separated from their children after crossing into the U.S., as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. That policy prioritizes the prosecution of people who enter the country illegally.

Thousands of children have been separated from their parents as the result of that policy, sparking public outrage and calls for the government to reunite separated families.

Neither of the women recorded in the hearings has been deported yet, according to CNN. A federal judge ordered the Trump administration last month to move quickly to reunite separated families, giving officials 14 days to reunite children under the age of 5 with their parents and 30 days to reunite older children with their parents.

The judge also put a temporary hold on deportations of reunited families.

Tags family separation immigration court Trump administration zero tolerance policy
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