More than 30 celebrities, many of them Jewish, teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to make a viral video this week telling the story of a mother separated from her small child at the US border.
In the clip, created by Maggie Gyllenhaal and titled “My Name Is Mirian,” actors take turns reading the testimony of an asylum-seeker from Hondurus who was separated from her 18-month-old son, her only child.
Participants include Gyllenhaal’s brother Jake, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Franco, and Amy Schumer.
More than 2,000 children in all were separated from their parents by US immigration authorities at the border this spring before President Donald Trump reversed course on June 20 amid an international outcry and said families should remain together.
Mirian said she and her child left their home in Honduras after the military tear-gassed it.
“On February 20, 2018, my son and I crossed the international bridge in Brownsville, Texas, and presented ourselves to US immigration officers,” she wrote in a letter.
“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 letter continued: “I had no idea that I would be separated from my child for seeking help.”
Some of the actors struggled to contain their emotion when Mirian described how she was unable to comfort her child after border officers made her put him in the car seat of a government vehicle.
Mirian has been able to speak to the case worker dealing with her son, and says she cannot really speak to the child himself as he is too young to talk properly. Her son has been unwell and cries for her.
“I need to be able to hold him and reassure him that he is safe and that his mother is here for him,” Mirian said.
Trump administration official said the separations were a necessary measure to enforce border security.
A broad spectrum of Jewish groups have spoken out against the policy, along with many other religious organizations, with some comparing the policy to Nazi-era actions.