ProPublica

Video: Separated From Her Mother at the Border, a 6-Year-Old Has to Find Her Own Way

Earlier this week, millions of people were captivated by audiotape of an insistent six-year-old girl from El Salvador demanding that workers at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Facility call her aunt. While other children wept inconsolably, Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid recited the phone number her mother made her memorize on the raft ride across the Rio Grande.

Jimena was lucky. As the Trump administration backs away from its unpopular zero tolerance policy of separating migrant families, and orders the reunification of some 2,300 children with their families, the burden will be on those children to help identify their families and where they are.

We visited Jimena’s aunt in Houston and captured the moments when Jimena, now in an Arizona shelter, and then her mom, who is in a detention facility in Texas, called the aunt who’d become their lifeline.

More from ProPublica

ProPublica5 min readPolitics
IRS-Funded Review Confirms TurboTax Hid Free Filing From Search Engines, but Says There’s No Need for Major Changes
by Justin Elliott ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one i
ProPublica26 min read
An Unseen Victim of the College Admissions Scandal: The High School Tennis Champion Aced Out by a Billionaire Family
by Daniel Golden and Doris Burke This article is published in partnership with The New Yorker. Get the best of The New Yorker, in your inbox. Sign up now.
ProPublica2 min readSociety
Feds to Investigate Hospital Alleged to Have Kept Vegetative Patient Alive to Game Transplant Survival Rates
by Caroline Chen ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in