Over 2,300 immigrant children are currently separated from their parents under President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, but one six-year-old’s ability to memorize phone numbers kept her connected with her “lost” mother in the United States. Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid was separated from her mother Cindy Madrid shortly after they arrived in the U.S. with other illegal immigrants from El Salvador.
Little Alison’s ability to memorize and recall the phone numbers of her aunt in Houston helped the authorities to connect the little girl with her separated folks. The aunt had advised Cindy over the phone to ensure her little daughter memorized her phone numbers in case they ever get separated on arriving in the United States. And that was exactly was happened, ProPublica wrote.
“Of All the Children Here, She’s the Only One Who Provided Information,” Officials Said
As soon as the mother and daughter landed in Texas on June 13, Border Patrol officials got hold of the immigrants and promptly separated parents and children. Children cried themselves hoarse as their parents were shepherded away to other detention facilities. With hundreds of children wailing inconsolably, little Alison insisted Border Patrol officials call her aunt. Her clear and ringing voice rose above the din of children’s cries as she reeled off her aunt’s numbers, prompting the officials to get in touch with the aunt.
“Of all the children here, she’s the only one who provided information,” officials said. “Most children here aren’t able to give names, much less a phone number.”
Alison’s voice was captured perfectly, and the recording of her phone call was played everywhere and listened to by millions of people across the U.S. The seven-minute audio was even listened to by policymakers at the White House and President Trump was forced to backtrack some on his immigration policy.
“My Mommy Says My Aunt Will Come to Pick Me Up So I Can Go With Her,” Alison Tells Officials
Trump disclosed on Wednesday he had instructed immigration officials to stop separating immigrant families and to begin the process of reuniting them again. Officials also stated they might drop the idea of criminally prosecuting all illegal immigrants caught crossing the border.
“After all she’s gone through, her reward is that she’s become the voice for all the children in that situation,” said Alison’s aunt, a Salvadoran woman who is seeking asylum in the US. “It’s really hard. I can’t imagine the magnitude of these children’s suffering, the psychological and emotional damage that the older and younger kids there have.”
The aunt said she threw herself out of bed and thanked God when she heard her niece’s voice over the phone. Border Patrols facilitated the phone call thanks to Alison’s insistence. With Alison’s recorded voice all over the news and the publicity the unnamed aunt received, the latter expressed joy that Alison’s bravery with the authorities has also earned her “five minutes of fame.”