Earlier this week, approximately 20 cages with what appeared to be a crying child inside, began popping up in front of various landmarks around Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The cages are art installations created by ad agency Badger & Winters for nonprofit advocacy group, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) and are reminiscent of the images from U.S. border facilities, where migrants who attempted to cross into the country without legal documentation now live in overcrowded, fenced-in cages under foil blankets.
The children inside the cages are not real but are intended to evoke the same emotions as the children held in detention facilities. According to a Badger & Winters’ press release, each cage has a model of a child inside that emits an eerie audio recording of a crying child that was actually smuggled out of a detention center.
“The #NoKidsInCages campaign is intended to reignite concerns about the border crisis and remind people and those in power that the safety of children is not a political issue,” the agency said in their press release. According to Customs Border Protection, six children have died in the last eight months in government care or shortly after being released.
Madonna Badger, founder of Badger & Winters, said in the press release, “We have to rise up against innocent children being ripped from their parents’ arms. 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.”
Badger isn’t the only one making a bold statement against border control. Vic Mensa released an ICE-inspired music video for his group 93PUNX’s single ‘Camp America,’ featuring white kids in cages.
The video depicts white children in orange jumpsuits innocently laughing and dancing while being held in cages. Mensa raps, “We’ll be living it up, not giving a f**k. Splitting you up, then we put you in cuffs. Then we shipping you off. Yeah, you could get lost at Camp America.” The video ends with the message, “There are over 13,000 immigrant children in U.S. custody today. What if it was your kid?”
Mensa told The Daily Beast, “The song’s lyrics were inspired by ICE director Matthew Albence comparing the immigration detention centers to summer camps. I thought that was a crazy fucking idea and wanted to create a world with this song that imagined that twisted alternate reality, where it was fun for kids to be held as prisoners, drinking out of toilets, away from their parents, and somehow enjoy it like one might at a summer camp.”