Jennifer Harbury [00:00:00] A Border Patrol agent told me once, “I just go up to the kids and give them a chocolate bar and we chat for a while and then they trust me.”
[00:00:06] I was like, “Oh please, these kids have come all the way north knowing anyone in any uniform with boots you should be terrified of and run from the guns. A 2 year old knows that.”
Child crying [00:00:20] No quiero que lo paren. No quiero que lo deporten. (I don’t want them to stop my dad. I don’t want them to deport him.).
Title [00:00:26] This audio tape was given to Jennifer Harbury in June 2018.
Child [00:00:34] Papi! (Daddy!)
Title [00:00:36] Jennifer gave the original to ProPublica.
Jennifer Harbury [00:00:41] We can’t get in and they cannot call out. Doctors were being turned away. The Senator was turned away. They knew.
[00:00:56] Don’t cut it. Don’t. Don’t take anyone’s voices out. Just produce the whole thing or we’ll be accused of tampering with it.
[00:01:05] So it’s the whole thing and what I heard were little tiny children just crying and crying frightened out of their wits and screaming for mom. And one of the children who did not speak much Spanish just kept saying, “Papi, oh Papi.” Papi. .
Child crying 2 [00:01:24] Papa. Bye bye.
Workers [00:01:30] Workers talking about providing food. Children crying.
Jennifer Harbury [00:01:35] A little girl was saying, “I’ve got my aunt’s number. Her name is this and here’s her number. Call her right away and tell her to come get me please.”
Little girl [00:01:45] Quiero que venga mi Tia por mi para que me lleve. (I want my Aunt to come so she can take me to her house.).
Border Patrol [00:01:57] Ella te ayuda llamar a tu Tia si tienes el numero, para que puedas hablar con tu Tia. (She’ll help you call your Aunt if you have the number, so that you can talk to your Aunt.).
Little girl [00:01:57] Yo tengo el numer de ella. (I have her number.).
Border Patrol [00:01:57] Okay, pues ahorita ella te ayuda para que hables. (Okay, so she’ll help you right now so you can talk to her.)
Jennifer Harbury [00:02:02] Some other child is asked, “Where are you from? And he just answers, “Guatemaaaa…” and he just breaks into tears.
Border Patrol [00:02:09] De en donde son ustedes? (Where are you from?).
Child 3 [00:02:13] El Salvador.
Border Patrol [00:02:13] Y tu? (And you?).
Child 4 [00:02:13] Guatemala (starts crying.).
Jennifer Harbury [00:02:17] Any human being we’re wired if we hear a tiny child begging and crying for help like that. We know the difference between crying cause you’re mad and crying cause you’re in danger and terrified and in pain, right. And it’s just impossible to hear that tape. You just can’t put up with it. And that’s why it had so much impact. I mean people from all sides including many Trump supporters from other religious networks were were outraged by that tape and I was glad it means there’s still at least a little thread of humanity in us.
[00:02:53] Actually quite a few of the guards would say things to different lawyer friends of mine like, “The worst thing in the world to ever have to hear is a five year old being taken away from his mother.” That’s just horrible. And someone else said I don’t know. You know it’s like they started the separations today and the parents the children and the parents both screamed from you know 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 at night when I left. It’s just unbearable in there. So a lot of them didn’t like it at all. And I’m happy that they didn’t.
[00:03:25] I saw a much harder attitude by Border Patrol and Customs officers when people were forced to sleep on the bridge in the heat with no food and no water and no bathrooms for weeks at a time. It was a very hardened attitude.
[00:03:44] At one point there was a 15 year old girl out there who was sick. She’d been gang raped. And her mother was tending to her and very upset.
[00:03:52] So I was sitting about, they were sitting about the same distance that you are from the border patrol guards. So I walked up and said, “What are you doing? You know there’s a young girl there who’s pregnant she’s going to end up in a hospital you need to let her in right now.” And they’re basically, they’re saying, “No, all those parents are bad parents. Why did they bring their kids here?”
[00:04:14] And then we had a little discussion about how they themselves as U.S. officers are not allowed to go under Ray Nelson because it’s too dangerous. And the pregnant girl and next morning was gone. They didn’t take her in while I was there that night but they whisked her in in the morning.
[00:04:29] Cause I was saying, “If she starts bleeding out on the bridge or suffers an infection or whatever it’s you you did it. I don’t care. I don’t want to hear about how it was their fault and they and they just decided it was worth it and they’re stupid, right? You’re doing it. You know, let’s just get down to it.”.
[00:04:45] [Children crying.]
Border Patrol [00:04:52] Bueno aqui tenemos una orchesta. (Here we have an orchestra.)
[00:04:55] What we’re missing is a conductor.
Man’s voice [00:05:06] No llores! (Don’t cry!)
[00:05:10] We used to be the greatest of all you know everybody was so successful and. And here comes this person saying it’s not our fault it’s because all these people are taking the bread out of our children’s mouths. You know maybe that empire needed to fail.
[00:05:24] Maybe it was an evil empire. But the question is how to rebuild it into a non-empire that’s a good country.
[00:05:34] Destruction of the soul scares me much worse, actually…than anything else.
Title [00:05:39] Special thanks Angry Tias and Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley
Director/Editor Anne Lewis, NABET CWA 6186
Videographer Matthew Gossage
Spanish interviews Laura Varela
Translation Iris Rodriguez, Xica Media