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U.S. Border Patrol agents arrive to detain a group of Central American asylum seekers near the U.S.-Mexico border. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

A secret audio recording, obtained by ProPublica, captures the desperate screams from several Central American migrant children who were separated from their parents last week, while a border patrol agent jokes that their cries sound like an "orchestra."

Why it matters: The children's repeated cries for their "Mami" and "Papa" add a vivid dimension to the hotly-contested policy debate that has created a sharp divide in Washington.

Some clips, in Spanish:

  • One child cries "I don't want them to stop my father, I don't want them to deport him," while others wail in the background.
  • A border agent jokes remarks through the screams: "Well, we have an orchestra here, right? ... What we're missing is a conductor."
  • A consular worker murmurs: "This is her identification number... Keep this number. Don't lose it, you hear? Good."
  • One child asks: "Are you going to call my aunt so she can come pick me up? And then, so my mom can come as soon as possible?"

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Go deeper

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

The quick FCC fix that would get more students online

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the pandemic forces students out of school, broadband deployment programs aren't going to move fast enough to help families in immediate need of better internet access. But Democrats at the Federal Communications Commission say the incoming Biden administration could put a dent in that digital divide with one fast policy change.

State of play: An existing FCC program known as E-rate provides up to $4 billion for broadband at schools, but Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai has resisted modifying the program during the pandemic to provide help connecting students at home.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

America's hidden depression

Biden introduces his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, on Dec. 1. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Biden faces a fragile recovery that could easily fall apart, as the economy remains in worse shape than most people think.

Why it matters: There is a recovery happening. But it's helping some people immensely and others not at all. And it's that second part that poses a massive risk to the Biden-Harris administration's chance of success.