Migrant children in detention center told not to talk to reporters


A woman who quit her teaching job at a detention center holding migrant children shared footage captured last week that offers a rare glimpse inside. 

“I am here today because I feel like it’s important to make a difference,” the former worker told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Monday on the condition of anonymity. She resigned last week and provided the video and audio footage to the network.

“It’s sad to know that these children are crying for their parents,” she said. “They don’t know where their parents are.”

Video shows children being served food in a room that resembles a classroom. Audio features an adult cautioning the children, in Spanish, against speaking to the press. 

“It is going to be on the news ― and then one doesn’t know what is going to happen ― if you are going to last here for a long time,” a woman can be heard saying. “I am not trying to scare you. I am just telling you, it’s the truth.”

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Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart housing migrant children
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Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart housing migrant children
Occupants at Casa Padre, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., are seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Casa Padre, an unaccompanied minor shelter, is seen in Brownsville, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare
Casa Padre, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Casa Padre, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Casa Padre, an unaccompanied minor shelter, is seen in Brownsville, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare
Casa Padre, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Casa Padre, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Casa Padre, an unaccompanied minor shelter, is seen in Brownsville, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare
Occupants at Casa Padre, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., are seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Casa Padre, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An occupant at Casa Padre, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Occupants at Casa Padre, an immigrant shelter for unaccompanied minors, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., are seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Casa Padre, an unaccompanied minor shelter, is seen in Brownsville, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare
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The former worker said she witnessed a “huge influx” of younger children in the last few months. She and her coworkers weren’t allowed to hug them or console them. If they noticed something wrong, the only question they were allowed to ask was whether the child wanted to speak to their case manager.

“The amount of kids that are little, that are coming alone compared to the amount of teenagers ― it’s way higher,” she said. “How are these kids coming alone? That’s not OK. We’re not allowed to know what’s going on with the child. We’re not allowed to ask any of the kids questions.”

The media has been banned from interviewing detainees or taking video inside detention centers. Except for leaked audio that captured the sounds of separated children crying inconsolably, the public has had to rely on official images to see what goes on behind closed doors. 

The Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy has separated thousands of children from their parents, sending them to facilities across the country. Even though the government has begun the process of reuniting the families following a torrent of backlash, more than 2,000 children remained apart from their parents. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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