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Celebs read mother's account of child separation

Maggie Gyllenhaal and over 30 other Hollywood stars came together with the ACLU to read an affidavit from "Mirian," a mother who was separated from her son at the US-Mexico border.

Posted: Jul 12, 2018 5:28 AM
Updated: Jul 12, 2018 5:46 AM

One by one they repeat her pain: "He is my only child."

In different rooms and in different cities, more than 30 Hollywood stars came together with the American Civil Liberties Union to create an emotional video telling the story of one of thousands of immigrant parents who have been separated from their children at the Mexican border.

In the video, created by actor Maggie Gyllenhaal and titled "My Name Is Mirian," celebrities such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chadwick Boseman, Kumail Nanjiani, and many more take turns reading a note from Mirian, a Honduran asylum seeker who was separated from her 18-month-old son at the Texas border in February.

As the celebrities' voices fade in and out, replacing one another, the note explains why it wasn't safe for Mirian and her baby to remain in Honduras.

"I brought my son to the United States so that we could seek protection from violence in Honduras," actor Lena Waithe says, reading Mirian's letter. "We fled Honduras after the military tear-gased our home."

The note describes the chaotic moment when Mirian's son was taken from her and her attempts to contact him while they were held in different government facilities. Several of the stars' voices crack and some wipe away tears.

James Franco explains how US officials took a statement from Mirian about why she came to the country.

"The US officers then told me that they were taking my son from me," actor Jamie Lee Curtis reads. When Mirian asked officers why she and her son were being separated, actors repeat one after another that "they did not provide any reason."

Actor Thandie Newton describes how Mirian says she was "going crazy wondering" what had happened with her son.

"I need to be able to hold him and reassure him that he is safe and that his mother is here for him," Gyllenhaal says.

In a Twitter post Tuesday, Gyllenhaal shared the video with the hashtag #MyNameIsMirian to raise awareness for the plight of family separation at the border. The video was also shared by the ACLU on YouTube, and directs viewers to visit its webpage for Trump's Family Separation Crisis.

In her own words

In May, Mirian herself wrote an op-ed for CNN detailing her personal experience crossing the border, having her son taken from her and what it was like being separated for more than two months.

"I never could have imagined they would take him away from me," she wrote in her piece for CNN. "But soon I discovered how the US immigration system truly works."

In her own words, Mirian described how officers never explained why her son was being taken away. She said she never got to say goodbye to her son as she strapped him into a car seat because before she could comfort him, an officer shut the door. She said her child was screaming as the car drove away.

In April, an immigration judge found that Mirian had a credible asylum claim and she was released. One month later, she was reunited with her son. She said that when she was finally able to hold him again, she couldn't stop kissing his face.

"I am proof that parents who are legally seeking asylum are being separated from their children for seemingly no reason," Mirian wrote. "My heart goes out to the other mothers who are still aching for their children."

Mirian is part of the ACLU's class-action lawsuit challenging the government's practice of separating immigrant children from their families. On Tuesday, the administration failed to meet its first family reunification deadline, reuniting fewer than half of eligible separated migrant families.

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