“My Name Is Mirian” tells the story of a mom and her son, separated at the border
Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal made a moving video called “My Name Is Mirian” to tell the story of a Honduran mother who fled her home in the hopes of bringing her toddler son to safety in America. After requesting asylum, she and her child were separated from each other at the border. Hearing her sworn affidavit about her time away from her son, read by several celebrities, is nothing short of heartbreaking.
Gyllenhaal created the video in collaboration with the ACLU and many familiar faces appear including Ryan Reynolds, Amy Schumer, Chadwick Boseman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Glenn Close, Lena Waithe, Jamie Lee Curtis, Alia Shawkat, and Kumail Nanjiani. Dozens of celebrities contributed their voices to help tell the story of Mirian, a mom separated from her 18-month-old son at the Texas border.
In her letter, Mirian explains that she fled her home in Honduras after it was teargassed by the military. She says she was seeking “protection from government violence” when she crossed into Texas earlier this year.
“On Feb. 20, 2018, my son and I crossed the international bridge in Brownsville, Texas, and presented ourselves to US immigration officers,” she wrote. She says her son is her only child.
“The US immigration officers then told me that they were taking my son from me. They said he would be going to one place and I would be going to another. I asked why the officers were separating my son from me. They did not provide any reason.” The mom states she had no idea that seeking asylum would mean being separated from her child.
“The immigration officers made me walk out with my son to a government vehicle and place my son in a carseat. My son was crying as I put him in the seat,” they read. “I did not even have a chance to comfort my son, because the officers slammed the door shut as soon as they put him in.” She later found out he was at a federally-sponsored foster home in San Antonio while Mirian herself was detained at Port Isabel Detention Center in Los Fresnos, Texas.
During their separation, the mom was kept updated on her son’s condition by a caseworker who told her that her son cried for her all the time and wanted to see her. Mirian says the time away from her child made her depressed and she didn’t even want to eat. After some time passed, the toddler stopped crying as much, but he wasn’t in perfect health. “The caseworker said my son is doing a little better but also has an ear infection and a cough,” she states. “I need to be able to hold him and reassure him that he is safe and that his mother is here for him.”
In an essay Miran wrote published by CNN, she shares the update that she’s now living in the U.S. and was finally reunited with her son on May 2nd — after two months and 11 days.
Two months and 11 days. With complete strangers.
“It was an indescribable, uncontainable joy to hold him,” she writes. “I couldn’t stop kissing his face. The entire time we were separated, my son was the reason that I held on and finally, he was there, like a vision.”
Mirian says she’s proof that there are asylum-seeking parents being separated from their young children for “seemingly no reason.” She says she thinks of the other parents still waiting to be reunited with their kids. “I pray for them to have strength, and that they encounter people who can help carry their spirits, like the other women in the detention facilities did for me. In the face of such cruelty, it made all the difference.”
If you’d like to help families separated at the border, the ACLU provides several steps we can take to make our voices heard.