Separated: Children at the Border


The U.S. government’s decision to separate migrant children from their parents in processing centers proved to be one of the year’s biggest stories. Many journalists gravitated to the story, though, in Separated: Children at the Border, Frontline shows characteristic attention to broader contexts undergirding the policy and its enactment. The one-hour documentary explores the roots of the policy in El Paso, Texas, 12 months prior to it making headlines, and draws a line from Obama era practice and infrastructure through to current policy. It goes to Central America atop migrant trains and to meet parents such as Arnovis Guidos Portillo trying to bring back his 6-year-old daughter Meybelin. It moves along and above the U.S.-Mexico border. And it goes to Washington, D.C. to interview politicians and lawyers, even playing ProPublica’s released audio of children in a detention center to then-Acting Director of ICS Thomas Homan for the first time, despite his rejoinder that “I’ve heard many children cry in my 34 years. I don’t need to hear children cry.” Throughout, Separated and its makers commendably show as much care and attention to the humans and traumas of the story as to its politics and rhetoric, and thus, earn a Peabody Award.


Executive Producer: Raney Aronson. Managing Editor: Andrew Metz. Writer / Producer: Marcela Gaviria. Writer / Correspondent: Martin Smith. Co-Producer / Editor: Brian Funck. Co-Producer: Sara Obeidat, Anjali Tsui. Directors of Photography: Timothy Grucza, Scott Anger, Rachel Beth Anderson. Editors: Michelle Mizner, Jordan Montminy. Line Producer: Christine Canedo. Field Producer: Marlén Viñayo. Associate Producer: Mirella Brussani, Virginia Richards.