MSNBC host Rachel Maddow cries on air as she reports migrant children being sent to ‘tender age’ shelters

Anchor sheds tears over news toddlers and babies are being detained at centres away from their families

Tom Barnes
Wednesday 20 June 2018 10:25 BST
Rachel Maddow breaks down in tears discussing Trump's immigration policy

US presenter Rachel Maddow broke down in tears live on air as she reported babies separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s immigration laws were being placed in “tender age” shelters.

The MSNBC anchor struggled with the news three centres in South Texas were holding infant children and toddlers taken from their parents as they attempted to cross the border from Mexico into the United States.

Maddow was unable to read more than a sentence of the report, detailing how infants were being detained at the centres, before starting to cry.

Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children,” she began before attempting to force back the tears.

“Can we put up the graphic of this?” she asks as she continues to well up, adding: “I think I am going to have to hand this off,” as she ends the show.

The report disclosed information from lawyers and medical providers who had visited shelters where migrant children were being held in the Rio Grande Valley, describing play rooms full of crying, preschool age children.

More than 2,300 children are thought to have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced its “zero tolerance” policy to illegal immigration in May this year.

The government has come under fire for the approach after images of children in cages at US Border Patrol processing stations have emerged in recent weeks.

Concerns have also been raised that the US is creating new institutions to hold Central American toddlers authorities have separated from their parents, decades after the nation’s welfare system ended the use of orphanages over fears children may suffer lasting trauma.

“The thought that they are going to be putting such little kids in an institutional setting? I mean it is hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” said Kay Bellor, of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which provides foster care and other services to migrant children.

“Toddlers are being detained.”

US government officials have denied the policy is inhumane or cruel, despite receiving widespread criticism from religious groups, the United Nations and both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

“We have specialised facilities that are devoted to providing care to children with special needs and tender age children as we define as under 13 would fall into that category,” said Steven Wagner, of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“They're not government facilities per se, and they have very well-trained clinicians, and those facilities meet state licensing standards for child welfare agencies, and they're staffed by people who know how to deal with the needs – particularly of the younger children.”

Additional reporting by AP

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in