HOUSTON — The little girl heard on a heartbreaking recording that drew international outrage on family separations was reunited with her mother Friday morning at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.
Cindy Madrid and her six-year-old daughter, Allison, both from El Salvador, had not seen each other in a month after crossing into the United States seeking asylum. Authorities sent Allison to a facility in Arizona while Madrid was held in Harlingen.
Madrid was released Wednesday when her claim was deemed 'credible' and community members helped raise money for her bond.
During a Friday afternoon news conference, Madrid said she wasn’t sure if their reunion would ever happen.
“It was so beautiful, the moment that I saw her,” said Madrid, through a translator.
“So happy because I was able to see her and to hug her,” said Allison.
Madrid says she's proud of her daughter and enjoying every second together, even with a tough legal fight ahead.
“Just to be patient to the other kids, that they will be soon, eventually will be with their parents and that they’re gonna have a happy ending,” said Allison, through a translator, when asked her message to other separated families.
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Madrid says she wants to be in the United States because it’s much safer than El Salvador and provides her daughter better educational opportunities and health care.
Their story was thrust into the world spotlight after ProPublica released a recording of Allison sobbing from inside an immigrant shelter a few weeks ago. She's heard asking for her aunt and reciting her phone number, while other children in the background plead for their parents.
“The child is really, really strong, very, very sharp, the mother very astute to have given her child the phone number that, ‘In case they got separated, make sure you memorize this,’” said their attorney . “They never planned to have been separated this long, but what it shows is that her voice is what I think exploded the Trump administration policy of separating the families and keeping it quiet.”
Garcia says both Madrid and her daughter will stay with family in Houston and could choose to move the case, which is currently in Harlingen, to Houston. Garcia says she’ll proceed with filing an asylum claim when the court date is set.