Wire cages containing life-size models of children wrapped in silver blankets dotted New York city streets Wednesday as recordings of sound of wailing echoed from the cage. Measuring 5 feet by 3 feet, the mannequin children were barely covered by the “NASA blankets.”
The movement, #NoKidsInCages, brought to New York the stark reality of refugees’ current state of life along the Mexican border. Local television stations described the looped recording of a child crying as both “haunting” and “disturbing.”
One bystander told the Washington Post the display, “brought me to my knees.”
Police were out on the streets Wednesday removing the outspoken pieces, just hours after they were erected.
The project — inspired by RAICES, a Texas nonprofit dedicated to immigration and refugee legal assistance — was created by an ad agency, Badger & Winters.
RAICES Executive Director Jonathan Ryan tweeted, "@NYPD I invite you to Texas to remove the cages down there, too. #NoKidsInCages."
In a news release, Ryan continued, "The litmus test of any society is how it treats children. By normalizing the detention of children in cages, we’re only going further down the path of forsaking the rights of all children.”
About 60,000 child migrants have been detained by U.S. authorities between May 1 and June 10, Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan revealed Tuesday.
In a report released by the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), PHR Asylum Network Coordinator Kathryn Hampton said, “Children are being met at the U.S. border with harsh, punitive policies that both violate their rights and severely affect their wellbeing.
“U.S. immigration officials have justified such policies in the name of deterrence. However, if violence is a major factor driving children to seek refuge in the U.S ... harsh border enforcement will not serve as an effective deterrent and will only cause more harm to an already traumatized population,” Hampton said.