Newly released audio reflects heartbreak of children separated from parents at the border

ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, published audio on Monday of children crying out for their parents at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility.

The nearly eight-minute recording is of 10 Central American children who were separated from their parents last week by immigration authorities at the border, according to ProPublica.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent can be heard in the audio clip making a joke about the wailing children.

“Well, we have an orchestra here,” the agent says. “What’s missing is a conductor.”

The person who made the recording asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation, ProPublica reports. HuffPost has not independently confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

At one point in the clip, a 6-year-old Salvadoran girl begs a consulate worker to call her aunt, whose number she’d memorized in case she was separated from her family.

“My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible,” the unidentified girl says.

President Donald Trump’s administration announced the family separation policy in May as a part of a “zero tolerance” crackdown on illegal immigration to the United States. The practice of taking children from parents who illegally enter the country has ignited bipartisan backlash.

Trump has blamed Democrats amid mounting criticism, saying the crackdown was a result of inaction on border security in Congress. However, the family separations are entirely the result of Trump administration policy.

Family separation ordered by the administration has resulted in nearly 2,000 children being separated from their parents in six weeks. There have been 1,995 children taken from 1,940 adults at the border between April 19 and May 31, The Associated Press reported.

Listen to ProPublica’s full audio above.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.