The young girl whose harrowing call for her aunt went viral after she was separated from her mother at the US border has been reunited with her family.
Allison Madrid, six, was all smiles on Friday as she was seen walking out of Bush Intercontinental Airport, holding mother Cindy’s hand.
The pair had come to the United States from El Salvador, seeking asylum from gang violence, when they were separated.
They may have stayed that way, had Allison not memorized her aunt’s phone number.
Six-year-old Allison Madrid (left) was separated from her mother Cindy (right) for about a month when they tried to cross the border from El Salvador. On Friday, they were reunited
Allison was held at a detention camp with other children (similar pictured), but was recorded asking to call her aunt, whose phone number she memorized, as other children wailed for their parents in the background
When children are separated from their parents at the border, so are their legal cases, meaning Trump administration officials are struggling to match child to parent now they have reversed their policy on separation at the border, Propublica reported.
It was not until human rights activists recorded a group of children crying for their parents – capturing Allison’s voice asking to call her aunt, that Cindy knew her daughter was okay.
Over sobs and wails of other children, Allison was heard asking for help making the phone call, but did not receive an answer.
‘My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt, and that she will come to pick me up as quickly as possible so I can go with her,’ she tells officials.
Cindy, 29, told reporters when she heard the tape, she ‘immediately recognized [Allison’s] voice’.
‘I realized how sad she was,’ she told Click 2 Houston . ‘A mother knows her child’s voice.’
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Allison said she encouraged the other children in the camps to ‘be patient’, because ‘they will soon be with their parents and they have a happy ending too’
Cindy Madrid had tried to cross the US border from El Salvador to seek asylum from gang violence, but was detained
After their emotional reunion, the family and their lawyer appeared at a press conference to discuss the separation and what came next.
Cindy told reporters she was deeply thankful to the person who leaked the audio of the children, and incredibly proud of her daughter for keeping her cool.
She explained when she was able to speak with her six-year-old daughter, the child was the one to reassure her, telling her: ‘Everything is fine and I know my rights so nobody can do anything to me’.
Cindy said she was happy to be back with her daughter, and to soon be reunited with other family in Houston.
The relieved mother told reporters she had tried to come to the country: ‘Because everybody knows the United States is a great country, especially the safety’.
‘Mostly for my child,’ she explained.
Allison told reporters she had missed her mother terribly and was happy to be reunited with her at the airport.
‘Now I can see her I am happy I’ll be seeing her all the time,’ she said.
The six-year-old latched on to her mother as the pair faced a room full of reporters following their reunification
Allison told reporters being in the camp with other kids was ‘kind of fun, but not all the time [because] you are separated from your mom’
Her time in the detention facilities was ‘kind of fun’, she said, ‘but not all the time [because] you are separated from your mom’.
The eloquent six-year-old also took a moment to encourage other children still in the detention camps to be patient.
‘They will soon be with their parents and they have a happy ending too. There is something good coming,’ she said.
The way forward is not a smooth road for the Madrid family.
A lawyer for the family said Cindy and her daughter would be staying in Houston with family while they waited for their asylum claim to be processed.
‘Because there are so many policies and rules, we don’t know how long it will take,’ the attorney said.