Say Their Names: This Father-Daughter Pair Were Found Dead, Washed Up On Banks Of Rio Grande After Attempting To Swim Across
Just hours after news broke that a woman and three children were found dead at the US-Mexico border, we have confirmation of two more deaths.
This time it’s a father-daughter pair who died a horrific death trying to find a better life in the United States.
Across social media, horrific pictures are circulating showing the victims’ lifeless bodies drowned in the Rio Grande.
Heartbreaking images reveal the tragedy of a father who drowned with his 23-month-old daughter as he went back to try and save her in the Rio Grande while her mother watched on.
Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, 25, and his daughter Valeria were found face down in shallow water on the Mexico side of the river across from Brownsville, Texas on Monday morning.
Their deaths are the latest in a string of migrant deaths at the US-Mexico border.
Just yesterday, the bodies of four undocumented people, one 20-year-old woman, two infants, and a toddler, were found near the Rio Grande.
The father had successfully taken his daughter to the US side of the border but the little girl followed her father back as he returned for the mother.
After waiting desperately for two months in a migrant camp Ramírez crossed the lethal currents near Matamoros first with his child before returning to other the side for his wife Tania Vanessa Ávalos, 21.
But their youngster, misunderstanding why she had been left on the other side got back into the water and Ramírez fatefully went in to save her.
Ávalos could only watch in horror as her husband and daughter were swept a few hundred yards downstream to their deaths.
Photos from the scene show his black shirt hiked up to his chest with the girl’s head tucked inside. Her arm was draped around his neck suggesting she clung to him in her final moments.
The family had been waiting nearly two months in an overcrowded migrant camp before finally deciding to make the dangerous crossing.
Ávalos said the family left El Salvador on April 3 and that they spent the last two months in Mexico at a migrant camp waiting for an appointment to apply for asylum to enter the U.S.
A Tamaulipas government official said the family arrived in Matamoros early Sunday and went to the U.S. Consulate to try to get a date to request asylum.
It’s not clear what happened to the family at the U.S. Consulate, but a shelter director said only about 40 to 45 asylum interviews were being conducted in Matamoros each week, while somewhere in the neighborhood of 800-1,700 names were on a waiting list.
Twitter lit up with reaction to both the devastating photo and the story behind it.
The devastating news and shocking photo have generated tons of comments on Twitter.
Many are frustrated by the government’s inability to take action to help migrants.
The issue of migrant deaths shouldn’t be fought along party lines. Each and every member of government should be able to agree that steps need to be taken, first and foremost, to stop people from dying.
While many on Twitter were outraged at the comments from people completely lacking empathy and compassion for the lives lost.
Sadly, there are still way too many comments on Twitter from people who say migrants shouldn’t risk the journey and that they’d survive. Too many people still don’t get it.
From the scorching Sonora desert to the fast-moving Rio Grande, the US-Mexico border has long been a deadly journey for migrants trying to cross into the US.
In recent weeks alone, two babies, a toddler and a woman were found dead on Sunday, overcome by the sweltering heat.
Elsewhere three children and an adult from Honduras died in April after their raft capsized on the Rio Grande, and a 6-year-old from India was found dead earlier this month in Arizona, where temperatures routinely soar well above 100 degrees.
‘Very regrettable that this would happen,’ Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday in response to a question about the photograph.
‘We have always denounced that as there is more rejection in the United States, there are people who lose their lives in the desert or crossing the river,” he added.
The tragic deaths come amid reports of squalid conditions and overcrowding at migrant shelters.
“The kids had colds and were sick and said they didn’t have access to soap to wash their hands. It was an alcohol-based cleanser,” Clara Long, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch said to CNN. “Some kids who were detained for 2-3 weeks had only one or two opportunities to shower. One said they hadn’t showered in three weeks. Hygiene and living conditions like this creates a risk of spreading infectious disease. It makes me very concerned about the public health emergency.”