Shocking Photo of Drowned Father and Daughter Highlights Perils Facing by Many MigrantsTop Stories

June 26, 2019 14:05
Shocking Photo of Drowned Father and Daughter Highlights Perils Facing by Many Migrants

(Image source from: The Guardian)

Days after the death of a 6-year-old migrant girl from India in Arizona desert, the bodies of the man and his 23-month-old daughter lying face down in shallow water along the bank of Rio Grande was found on Monday.

The searing photograph captured by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada showed the man’s black shirt hiked up to his chest with the girl tucked inside.

The article in the Mexican newspaper highlights the perils faced by mostly Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty and hoping for asylum in the United States.

According to report, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, who vexed as the family from El Salvador was not able to present themselves to United States authorities and request asylum, swam across the river on Sunday with his daughter, Valeria.

He set her on the U.S. bank of the river and started back for his wife, Tania Vanessa Avalos, but seeing him move away the girl threw herself into the waters. Martinez came back and was able to grab Valeria, but the current swept them both away.

The account was based on remarks by Avalos to police at the scene - "amid tears" and "screams", Le Duc told The Associated Press.

Tamaulipas government official on Tuesday confirmed more information surrounding the incident. The official was not authorized to talk about the matter publically and spoke on condition of anonymity, and by Martinez's mother back in El Salvador, Rosa Ramirez, who spoke with her daughter-in-law by phone afterward.

"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," Ramirez told AP."He put her in his shirt, and I imagine he told himself, 'I've come this far' and decided to go with her."

The 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. The mother is 21 years old and the father was 25, he added.

It is still not clear what happened to the family at the U.S. Consulate, but later in the day, they made their mind to cross.

The Tamaulipas official said the father and daughter set off from a small park that abuts the river. Civil defense officials appeared at the scene at 7 p.m. on Sunday and later took the wife to the shelter.

"I was drawn to the girl's arm on her father," Le Duc said as she described arriving at the scene. "It was something that moved me in the extreme because it reflects that until her last breath, she was joined to him not only by the shirt but also in that embrace in which they passed together into death."

"It's a horrifying image," Maureen Meyer, a specialist on immigration at the Washington Office on Latin America, which advocates for human rights in the region, said of the photograph. "And I think it speaks so clearly to the real risks of these U.S. programs that are either returning people back to Mexico seeking asylum or in this case limiting how many people can enter the U.S. every day."

By Sowmya Sangam

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migrants  United States