Rachel Maddow Tears Up While Reporting on Immigrant Family Separation Policy

Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Maddow was reporting a breaking story that government officials were sending babies and other young children to three so-called "tender age" shelters in South Texas.

Rachel Maddow broke into tears when reporting on a breaking Associated Press report that the youngest children being separated from their parents under the U.S.'s "zero tolerance" illegal immigration policy are being sent to three "tender age" shelters.

"Officials have been sending babies and other young children ..., " the Rachel Maddow Show host started at the end of her show on Tuesday night, before tearing up. She attempted to begin again by saying, "to at least three," but had to cease speaking as she got emotional. 

The MSNBC host then asked her team to put up a graphic from the story, which did not appear. She added, "I think I'm going to hand this off. Sorry. That's [it] for tonight, we'll see you again tomorrow, but it is time for The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, where he is live in Brownsville, Texas." She waved off the camera as O'Donnell appeared in split screen.

The Associated Press story that broke while Maddow was on air reported that government officials were sending babies and other young children to three so-called "tender age" shelters in South Texas. Reporters Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza wrote that medical and legal providers reported seeing play rooms of crying preschoolers in the shelter.

This is the latest development in the story about the U.S. government's controversial "zero tolerance" illegal immigration policy, which separates families when adults are imprisoned for crossing the U.S. border illegally. Children are then sent to shelters; so far, more than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents at the border, according to the AP.

After her broadcast on Tuesday night, Maddow apologized for abruptly ending her show minutes earlier in a series of tweets. "Ugh, I'm sorry. If nothing else, it is my job to actually be able to speak while I'm on TV. What I was trying to do — when I suddenly couldn't say/do anything — was read this lede," she wrote, before reporting the AP story. She ended the tweet thread, "Again, I apologize for losing it there for a moment. Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."

View Maddow's reaction below.