Image of drowned father and daughter at US border highlights dangers of migrants – Cowichan Valley Citizen
Warning: This story contains graphic images, discretion is advised.
The man and his 23-month-old daughter were lying face down in shallow water along the shore of the Rio Grande, his black shirt reaching up to his chest with the girl tucked inside. Her arm was wrapped around his neck, suggesting that she was clinging to him in her dying moments.
The heartbreaking photograph of the sad discovery of their bodies on Monday, captured by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada, highlights the dangers facing most Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty and hoping for asylum in the United States.
According to Le Duc’s report for La Jornada, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, frustrated because the Salvadoran family could not report to the American authorities and seek asylum, crossed the river on Sunday swimming with his daughter, Valeria. .
He deposited her on the American side of the river and went back to his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, but seeing him go away, the young girl threw herself into the water. Martínez came back and was able to grab Valeria, but the current took them both.
|The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his almost 2-year-old daughter, Valeria, lie on the shore of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico on Monday, June 24, 2019, after drowning while attempting to cross the river. river to Brownsville, Texas. Martinez’s wife, Tania, told Mexican authorities she saw her husband and child disappear in the strong current. (AP Photo / Julia Le Duc)|
The account was based on Ávalos’ remarks to police at the scene – “amid tears” and “screams” – Le Duc told The Associated Press.
Details of the incident were confirmed on Tuesday by a Tamaulipas state government official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, and by Martínez’s mother in El Salvador. , Rosa Ramírez, who met with her daughter-in-law. by phone then.
“When the girl jumped, that’s when he tried to reach her, but when he tried to grab her he went further… and he couldn’t get out,” Ramírez told the ‘AP. “He put it in his shirt, and I imagine he was like, ‘I’ve come this far’ and decided to go with him.”
From the scorching desert of Sonora to the fast moving Rio Grande, the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border has long been a sometimes deadly passage between ports of entry. A total of 283 migrant deaths were recorded last year; the results have not yet been published this year.
|Rosa Ramirez sobs as she shows reporters toys that belonged to her nearly two-year-old granddaughter, Valeria, at her home in San Martin, El Salvador on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 (AP Photo / Antonio Valladares)|
In the past few weeks alone, two babies, a toddler and a woman have been found dead in the sweltering heat. Three children and an adult from Honduras died in April after their raft capsized on the Rio Grande, and a 6-year-old Indian child was found dead earlier this month in Arizona, where temperatures regularly rise well above above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The search for Martínez and his daughter was put on hold due to darkness on Sunday, and their bodies were discovered the next morning near Matamoros, Mexico, across from Brownsville, Texas, several hundred meters (meters ) from where they attempted to cross and only half a mile (1 kilometer) from an international bridge.
Tamaulipas immigration and civil defense officials visited shelters a few weeks ago to warn against any attempt to cross the river, which would be swollen by water released from dams for irrigation. On the surface, the Rio Grande appears placid, but strong currents flow below.
Ramírez said his son and his family left El Salvador on April 3 and spent about two months in a shelter in Tapachula, near the Mexico-Guatemala border.
“I begged them not to go, but he wanted to raise money to build a house,” Ramírez said. “They were hoping to stay there for a few years and save for the house. “
The Salvadoran foreign ministry said it was working to help the family, including valos, who were in a migrant shelter at the border after the drownings. The bodies were to be airlifted to El Salvador on Thursday.
|In this file photo from September 2, 2015, a paramilitary police officer investigates the scene before transporting the body of Aylan Kurdi, 3, Syrian from the shore, near the resort town of Bodrum, Turkey. (Nilufer Demir / DHA via AP, file)|
The photo is reminiscent of the 2015 image of a three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean near Turkey, although it remains to be seen if this can have the same impact in drawing international attention to migration to the United States.
“It is very unfortunate that this is happening,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday in response to a question about the photograph. “We have always denounced that since there is more rejection in the United States, there are people who lose their lives in the desert or while crossing” the river.
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
The Associated Press
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