The woman behind the viral photo from Sunday’s intense confrontation at the U.S.-Mexico border is calling on God to help her enter the country with her young children.
During an interview with BuzzFeed News, 39-year-old Honduran Maria Meza said, “I hope God will help me enter [the U.S.] with these kids because we’re suffering. I’m a single mother who wants to provide for my children.”
Meza arrived at the southern border over the weekend with her five children, whom she feared would die because of the exposure to tear gas.
“I felt sad, scared,” she recalled. “I wanted to cry. That’s when I grabbed my daughters and ran. I thought my kids were going to die with me because of the gas we inhaled.”
This is the Mom in that photo. Her name is Maria Mesa and she says she was scared for her life and the life of her children yesterday. Holding the tear gas canister, she said seeing the photo of her from yesterday makes her want to cry “I just grabbed my kids and ran” pic.twitter.com/0crStFaasT
— Annie Rose Ramos (@Annie_Rose23) November 26, 2018
The middle-aged mother said she and her kids started running but soon slipped in the mud. When she tried to stand up, Meza said she couldn’t. Instead, she relied on the help of a nearby man who “grabbed me by the hand and helped me get up.”
Meza appealed to immigration authorities, arguing she and her family are not all that different from U.S. Border Patrol agents.
“They have kids, too,” she said, “and they should have thought about their own kids, just like they should’ve thought about ours.”