Since May, more than 2,000 immigrant children have been separated from their parents and placed in shelters across the country as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration.
Some of those children have not seen or spoken to their parents, even though officials at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) have said that boys and girls held in their facilities are supposed to have the chance to speak with their family members twice a week, and a federal judge in California ordered Tuesday that all children in ORR custody be able to speak to their parents within 10 days.
In many cases, these phone calls aren’t happening on a consistent basis, advocates and attorneys say. But VICE News obtained an exclusive recording of a phone call that happened Tuesday between a distraught 7-year-old immigrant child and his mother in Guatemala. His mother granted VICE News permission to use the audio
The child crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with his father in late May. Since then, he has been in an ORR shelter in Arizona while his father has been detained in a detention facility in Texas. The boy has been separated from his father for almost a month but has been granted only two calls with his mother. Not a single call has been arranged to his father.
Here’s part of the conversation translated from Spanish:
Mother: Don’t cry, my love. Be happy; you are going to get out of there.
Child: (crying) Yes.
Mother: Remember that God exists. Kneel and cry to God. Ask him to help you get out of there.
Child: Everytime I go to sleep, I pray for you.
Listen to their heartbreaking conversation below in audio:
Cover image: Migrant children spend time in a recreation area outside Casa Presidente, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., June 23, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott