A woman who until last week worked at a facility holding immigrant children provided video footage of the inside of the center. It’s the first video footage unfiltered by the government to be seen by the public.
In one clip, a woman is heard telling children (in Spanish) not to talk to reporters or else their cases to find their parents can be thrown out.
“You have to be careful not to talk,” she says.
“It is going to be on the news and then one doesn’t know what is going to happen if you are going to be last here for a long time. I am not trying to scare you. I am just telling you, it’s the truth.”
“You have to be careful not to talk.”
In another video, the footage blurs the children’s faces but shows them in a classroom, sitting on the floor and eating off of paper plates.
Exclusive images: Inside a facility that serves children who have been taken from their parents by the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance” border policy. pic.twitter.com/FB6iORiN4l
Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) June 26, 2018
Another video shows the woman talking to a young girl identified as Jessica. The little girl is crying and saying she wants to speak with her mom. She says her mom is in Virginia but she hasn’t spoken to her in at least a week.
Exclusive: A foster facility worker tries to get information from a young migrant girl about who she is, how she got to the U.S., and where her mother is. pic.twitter.com/c2HmGMoxsP
Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) June 26, 2018
The former worker said she provided the video because “it’s sad” how many children were in the program she worked for.
“It’s sad to know that these children are crying for their parents. They don’t know where their parents are,” the woman, who gave the footage to MSNBC on the condition of anonymity, said.
MSNBC said it independently verified that the woman did in fact work for one of the facilities.
Michael Avenatti, attorney to porn star Stormy Daniels, said that the woman is one of his clients. He is also currently representing 60 immigrant mothers and 70 children, focusing on reunification as well as their immigration status overall.
He called meeting with mothers and hearing their stories “the most difficult days of his career,” possibly his life, telling MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that women recounted their children “ripped from their side in connection with this separation policy.”
“This is a very serious matter. Rachel, I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” he said.
He said the government is working hard to keep the reality of the situation hidden from the public.
“The reason they don’t want that to come to light is because it’s ugly. It’s really ugly. If you could accompany me to interview some of these mothers And you had the ability to convey that to the American people, people would be even more outraged than they truly are. This is absolutely tragic.”
Avenatti said his client took the risk of exposing the video footage to show the public what’s really going on.
“She is very concerned about the fact that this program has grown from somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 children to upwards of 600. The prior press reports are not accurate,” he said.
And Trump’s reunification promise will not play out the way he told the public last week.
“The assertion that the government knows where all these kids are They’re either playing word games or they’re lying. Look, the government knows where the kids that have been separated are, but they can’t match children to mothers. And the reason why we know that is, because in over 80 percent of my cases, Rachel, 80 percent of my 60-plus cases, the government can’t tell us where those mothers’ children are, even though it’s been, in many cases, three to four weeks later. That is a significant problem. My clients, potentially, are going to lose their children forever.”
“The bottom line here is, is that we need more whistleblowers to come forward, with images, video and facts and evidence to present this to the American public so they know really what’s going on,” Avenatti said.