NYC calls cops on caged-children agency stunt
Police in New York are reportedly using chainsaws to tear down a series of installations to protest the treatment of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border—just hours after they first appeared on Wednesday morning.
Earlier, thousands of New Yorkers had their journeys to work interrupted by the disturbing sights and sounds of what appeared to be children sobbing inside locked cages at 25 locations all over the city. The installations were part of a protest by Raices, the nonprofit committed to protecting border-crossers, against the Department of Justice's Zero Tolerance Immigration Enforcement Policy. Raices teamed up with independent agency Badger & Winters to launch the #NoKidsInCages campaign to raise awareness of the practice. The cage installations used dummies, of course, and not real children.
When the Trump Administration enacted its "Zero Tolerance" immigration policy in May 2018, it allowed the DOJ to arrest any person suspected of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Since then, 2,654 children have been separated from their parents, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which called the practice "illegal and cruel."
The issue has caused outrage among many Americans and politicians who have been exposed to stories of children crying out for their parents while locked in cages in U.S. detention centers at the border. In May, a migrant child became the sixth to die while in custody of U.S. immigration authorities.
The 25 cages were strategically placed around Manhattan and Brooklyn, including in front of city landmarks, tourist destinations, high-traffic public spaces and outside of media companies including CNN, Fox News, NBC, Vice, Refinery29, HuffPost and Newsweek. Other locations included Madison Square Park, Union Square, Google/Chelsea Market, the Brooklyn Bridge entrance, the Natural Museum of History and the Bedford Ave subway stop in Williamsburg. Inside the installations, real audio of children detained by the U.S. (obtained by ProPublica) accompanied the harrowing scenes.
"We have to rise up against innocent children being ripped from their parents' arms," Badger & Winters Founder Madonna Badger said in a statement. "What has been happening at our borders is inhumane and against domestic and international law. There is no justification for harming the ones among us who are most in need of love and protection."
The #NoKidsInCages campaign also features a dedicated website housing a series of videos that spotlights the border crisis. The agency is encouraging people to use the platform to urge their representatives to support the Keep Families Together Act introduced by Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler in opposition to Zero Tolerance.
"The litmus test of any society is how it treats children," Jonathan Ryan, executive director of Raices, said in a statement. "By normalizing the detention of children in cages, we're only going further down the path of forsaking the rights of all children."
In response to reports that the NYPD had begun tearing down the cages, Raices’ official Twitter feed posted: “Police here with a chainsaw. The State can act rapidly to put a stop to art installation but every night over 13,000 children are locked up for the crime of seeking a safe haven. Know this: the system is working as designed.”