Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Tuesday imploring President Donald Trump and the congressional body to revoke the White House’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that includes separating families seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
To get his point across, Menendez played a portion of the audio published by ProPublica this week of children separated from their parents crying out for their moms and dads at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility.
“Today I rise in condemnation of the Trump administration’s heartless, cruel and inhumane policy of separating children from their parents when they seek asylum at our southern border,” Menendez said.
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the audio released yesterday by ProPublica is worth a million tears,” he continued. “How do you submit the cries of innocent children into the congressional record? I don’t know how you do that, but you can hear it.”
He then hit play on his iPhone and put his mic to the speaker to amplify the audio on the Senate floor.
“I know you don’t want to hear it, but those are the cries of innocent children,” Menendez said. “I can’t replicate it. I can’t replicate their pain. It’s time that this Senate has its conscience pricked, that it moves to action and that it challenges the president on this horrific policy.”
Despite lawmakers on both sides of the aisle publicly condemning the Trump administration’s policy of separating detained immigrant families, Congress has been unable thus far to put forward a solution.
Senate Republicans announced their support Tuesday for a narrow bill that would keep detained immigrant families together as federal officials review their cases. But Democrats insist a legislative solution is not the answer ― even though Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would keep families together last month. Instead, Democrats say Trump should use his authority to revoke the policy immediately.