Story of immigrant and daughter “torn from his arms” reaches television


Tucson (AZ), Oct 29 (EFE) .- The story of Salvadoran immigrant Cindy Madrid, who was separated from her daughter Ximena Valencia on the southern border under the “zero tolerance” policy applied by now former President Donald Trump is the central theme of a film that premieres tomorrow Saturday on the American cable network Lifetime.

The film, which bears the English name of “Torn From Her Arms” (Torn From Her Arms), focuses on the story of Madrid and its daughter, who were separated at the border in May 2018 and had to endure harsh conditions inside detention centers.

The case captured national and international attention when a reporter for the digital medium ProPublica released a dramatic audio in which children separated from their parents can be heard crying at a Border Patrol station. Among the children heard is Ximena, who was only six years old at the time.

This recording came to reveal to the American people what was happening with thousands of migrant children who were separated from their parents and sent to shelters.

In the case of Madrid and her daughter, the mother was sent to a detention center in Texas while the minor was sent to the state of Arizona.


“This is a real story, very human, that crosses borders and that we hope will raise awareness among the American people about what is happening, not only on the border but in Latin American countries,” Alan Jonsson Gavica, director of the film.

This is the first time that the Lifetime network will air a film that addresses migration. The subject is of utmost importance to the Mexican director, who had previously heard about the drama that countless families have experienced on the border.

Although Trump is not directly mentioned in the film, it was important for Jonsson to emphasize that the events occurred in 2018, so that people can make their own guesses.

“In the same way that the American people were horrified when this recording of crying children was released, I would like them to be horrified when they saw this movie,” said the director.

Although the story of Madrid and her daughter has “had a happy ending” because they are now living in the United States together, not everyone has been so lucky. There are reports that there are still more than 1,500 minors who are separated from their parents.

“We also tell the story of a Mexican boy who was sent to a shelter and his father deported. We wanted to show a balance in the script so that the atrocities that were happening were counted ”, he emphasized.

The production shows the psychological suffering suffered by many parents, who assure that immigration agents told them that they would never see their children again and that they would be given up for adoption.


The film has already started to cause controversy on social media among those who defend migrants and those who criticize them for crossing the border irregularly.

“I lived through a very difficult situation in my country, in El Salvador, where I was a victim of violence, and because we wanted to save my life and that of my daughter, we took a risk by immigrating to the United States,” Madrid, who crossed the border, told Efe across the Rio Bravo (Grande) in Texas.

Although three years have passed since that bitter experience, the immigrant affirms that she will never forget the moment when she was separated from her daughter in the detention center. And above all, how his heart broke when, even while in the detention center, when he watched television, he heard the audio of the children crying and immediately recognized Ximena’s voice.

“It was horrible, terrible, very painful. I cried a lot like any mother, ”said Madrid, whose story inspired the film.

The two were separated for two months and a day. The immigrant said that at first it was very difficult for her daughter, who suffered many consequences, cried a lot and did not want to be separated from her mother.

“For us it is very important that this film shows what we went through as parents when we were separated from our children, and that people not only believe what they see on the news,” said the Salvadoran.

Now Ximena is 10 years old and, although she still remembers the crying children who were with her in the shelter for minors, she is optimistic about her future.

“I really like reading; I would like to write novels, “the little immigrant told Efe.

Ximena claims to understand the reason that led her mother to cross the border and she only hopes that the people who see the film can help in some way so that “a child is never separated from his parents.”

For her part, Thelma García, a lawyer who represents Madrid and whose character also appears in the film, told Efe that there are thousands more like this case.

He indicated that the Madrid case continues and although they already have a permit to live in the United States, their asylum request is still pending.