‘Torn From Her Arms’ revolves around Cindy Madrid and her daughter Ximena as they part ways across the US border. Directed by Alan Jonsson Gavica, the tragic film follows the journey of Cindy and Ximena as they try to reconcile amidst the chaos of the border crisis. ‘Torn From Her Arms’ features Fátima Molina, Camila Nuñez, Judy Reyes, and Gloria Reuben in key roles.
The full-time film touches on important issues of apartheid policies, emotional trauma, immigration crisis, and legal and social justice. Understandably, many wonder if Cindy and Ximena’s grief is based on fact.
Is Torn From Her Arms a Real Story?
Yes, the Torn From Her Arms’ is based on a real story. The film chronicles the horrific incident of Cindy Madrid and her then six-year-old daughter Alison Ximena Valencia Madrid at the US border in 2018. Cindy and Ximena were fleeing from the gang violence that plagued their home country of El Salvador again, thus. , seeking refuge in America. At the border, however, the Border Patrol quickly separated mother and daughter, in line with Trump’s Zero Tolerance administration or the United States family separation policy.
The Zero Tolerance immigration policy aims to stem the tide of illegal immigration by prosecuting adults who cross the border illegally and isolating them from their children to prevent others from doing the same in the future. The film’s foundation is therefore centered on politics, policies, and real-world problems.
‘Torn From Her Arms’ explores the horrific plight of Cindy and Ximena as they spend their days separately in poorly maintained detention centers. Cindy is being held at the ICE detention center in Port Isabel, Texas, away from her daughter. One cannot imagine the emotional pain of such an experience.
At the Customs and Border Protection detention center, Ximena’s sad cry for help was recorded. “My mother says I’m going with my aunt and she’ll come and get me soon,” Ximena cried in the recording. She begged someone to call her aunt, even her phone number. At the end of the tape, the officer agreed to call his aunt. Ximena was later relocated to a shelter run by Health and Human Services in Phoenix.
The audio recording has reached the hands of the ProPublica nonprofit newsroom by Jennifer Harbury, a human rights lawyer, who found it out from a stranger. When the audiotape was published, there was widespread outrage all over the world. Citizens and politicians alike are forced to face the real-life consequences of a cruel and unfair Kazero Tolerance Policy. Cindy and Ximena met again shortly afterward. The policy was officially withdrawn in 2021.
The film accurately portrays the shocking experiences of Cindy as Molina and Ximena as Nuñez. It also highlights the work of real and courageous people who fight for the reunion of a mother’s daughter, justice, and human rights. These include Thelma Garcia as Reyes, a Texas foreign attorney representing Cindy, and Ginger Thompson as Reuben, a senior journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize at ProPublica, who broke the story of a mother and daughter.
“As a mother, like a Latina, as an American first-generation American, I can see… “I have spoken to Thelma Garcia, a real lawyer, who I have the right to play again just to get an explanation for not only this case but also all the similar cases she is fighting for.”
“Torn From Her Arms.” The full-time film, with its real-life prison sets and many Spanish interviews, strive for accuracy and aims to faithfully represent the traumatic experience of Cindy and Ximena. ‘Torn From Her Arms’ thus brings into the public eye the real-life consequences of discriminatory and unfair border policies that violate human rights. It honors and immortalizes the true story of Cindy and Ximena, and commends the hard work of journalists, lawyers, and activists who fight for a better world.
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