Published: Wed, June 26, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Tragic image of drowned father and child must propel prevention measures

Tragic image of drowned father and child must propel prevention measures

Reports indicate the father, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, a native of El Salvador, attempted to cross the Rio Grande from Matamoros to an area near Brownsville, Texas, with his 23-month-old daughter.

The image, which showed the girl still holding on to her father, lying face-down in the water, was taken by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada, and it has served to highlight the high risk migrants face on the perilous journey to the US.

Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, frustrated because the family from El Salvador was unable to present themselves to U.S. authorities and request asylum, swam across the river on Sunday (local time) with his daughter Valeria, according to Le Duc.

Frustrated because his family was unable to have an opportunity to present themselves to USA authorities and request asylum, he swam across the river with his child.

He set her on the USA bank of the river and started back for his wife, Tania, but seeing him move away the terrified girl threw herself into the water behind him.

The reporter witnessed Mrs. Avalos give her account to the police.

Ramirez said: "When the girl jumped in is when he tried to reach her, but when he tried to grab the girl, he went in further ... and he couldn't get out".

"With huge sadness, the Holy Father has seen the images of the father and his baby daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande River while trying to cross the border between Mexico and the United States", the Vatican's interim spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, said in a statement.

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There have been a number of other recent grim discoveries near the border such as two babies, a toddler and a woman who were found dead, overcome by the sweltering heat.

The search for Mr Martinez and his daughter was suspended on Sunday due to darkness, and their bodies were discovered the next morning near Matamoros, Mexico, across from Texas, several hundred metres from where they had tried to cross and just one kilometre from an worldwide bridge.

"I begged them not to go, but he wanted to scrape together money to build a home", she said.

The incident, involving a man from El Salvador and his daughter, aged around 2, took place on Sunday. "That is why they made a decision to cross", she said, adding that their original intention was to hand themselves over to United States immigration authorities.

Despite her protestations, the family left El Salvador on April 3.

The farther reportedly hoped to find a job to support his family and buy a house, his mum said.

The White House has not commented on the specific case of the Salvadoran family, but on Wednesday, Trump blamed Democrats for wanting "open borders" and said that migrants were flocking to the United States because of its good economy.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele issued a statement on Tuesday promising to repatriate "as soon as possible" their bodies and offered economic help for their grieving relatives.

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