Dem plays audio from child detention center on Senate floor

Greg Nash

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) played audio obtained from inside a facility used to detain migrant children separated from their families during a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday. 

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But the audio released yesterday … is worth a million tears. How do you submit the cries of innocent children to the congressional record? I don’t know how you do that, but you can hear it,” Menendez said before playing the audio. 
The audio, obtained by ProPublica, includes workers trying to gather information from children as they cry out for family members. The conversations are conducted Spanish but children can be heard in the recording asking for their “papa.” 
“I know we don’t want to hear it. But those are the cries of innocent children. I can’t replicate it. I can’t replicate their pain,” Menendez said before trying to mimic the children in the audio recording. 
“It’s time that this Senate have its conscious pricked. That it moves to action. And that it challenges the president on this horrific policy,” he added. 
The audio comes from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection enforcement facility. It was first given to a civil rights attorney who has worked in Texas, who then gave it to ProPublica, the outlet reported.

The news outlet reported that the children in the recording are roughly between 4 and 10 years old, and had been in the facility for less than 24 hours.

The audio clip has gone viral. In addition to Menendez playing it on the Senate floor, reporters played the sound in the White House briefing room as they waited for press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to arrive on Monday.

The White House is under growing pressure to end the “zero tolerance” policies that are leading to immigrant children being separated from their parents along the border. 

Thirteen GOP senators sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking that he pause the practice while Congress works on legislation. 

Democrats have rallied behind legislation from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) aimed at preventing families from being separated. Meanwhile a group of GOP senators, led by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), are drafting a separate bill that they hope to unveil this week. 

Tags Bob Menendez Dianne Feinstein Jeff Sessions John Cornyn

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