As newly published images, videos, and audio provided brief and "horrifying" glimpses inside America's child detention facilities in the midst of President Donald Trump's massive attack on immigrant families, all 49 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus on Monday united behind a bill that would end the White House's family separation policy immediately—putting pressure on Republicans who claim to oppose the cruel practice to act on their words.
"Trump intentionally manufactured this humanitarian crisis in a craven attempt to gain leverage in a legislative fight."
—Nicole Regalado, CREDO
"The images and stories coming from the detention centers near the border are both heartbreaking and infuriating," CREDO campaign manager Nicole Regalado said in a statement on Monday. "Republicans in Congress have the power to put a stop to Trump's cruel family separation policy today. Democrats have coalesced around legislation that would immediately halt this barbaric practice. All we need now is for a handful of Republicans to find their conscience and stand up to the Trump regime."
The aggressive push for lawmakers to use their power to put an end to Trump's family separation practice—which, according to government data, has ripped nearly 2,000 children from their parents in just six weeks—came as ProPublica added to the newly unveiled series of photos and videos by publishing an audio recording from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, which captured the "desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children" after they were separated from their parents.
"Well, we have an orchestra here," a border patrol agent joked in response to the crying children. "What's missing is a conductor."
Listen to the recording:
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Earlier on Monday, Border Patrol released video footage that depicted what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) described as the "unabashed cruelty" of the Trump administration's family separation policy.
BREAKING: The U.S. government released horrifying footage of a child detention center in Texas. Together, we must defeat this inhumane and un-American action. pic.twitter.com/NGUyhQJ6TB
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 18, 2018
While several White House officials have openly stated that the family separation policy was a deliberate decision and not a requirement under existing laws, Trump continued during a meeting on Monday to falsely claim that children are being ripped from their parents' arms because of "horrible laws" and blamed Democrats for "obstructing."
With the president and his top advisers doubling down on their deeply unpopular family separation practice, Regalado argued that it is now completely up to so-called "moderate" Republicans who have raised alarm about the policy—including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)—to stop their meaningless grandstanding and start acting.
"Trump intentionally manufactured this humanitarian crisis in a craven attempt to gain leverage in a legislative fight," Regaldo said. "Strongly worded statements and tweets are insufficient. Congressional Republicans must use the power of their votes to stop Trump's inhumane assault on human rights."