Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro openly blamed President Donald Trump for the deaths of a father and child who attempted to cross the Rio Grande River.
“If I were president today, I would sign an executive order that would get rid of Trump’s zero tolerance policy, the remain in Mexico policy, and the metering policy. This metering policy is basically what prompted Oscar and Valeria to make that risky swim across the river,” Castro said Wednesday during the Democratic presidential debates.
“They have been playing games with people who are coming and trying to come seek asylum at our ports of entry. Oscar and Valeria went to a port of entry, and they were denied the ability to make an asylum claim, so they got frustrated and they tried to cross the river, and they died because of that,” he continued.
Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development secretary under the Obama administration, reiterated his pledge to undo many of Trump’s immigration policies on “day one” if he entered the White House.
The Democratic candidate’s comments concerned the recent deaths of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria.
When attempting to cross the Rio Grande River on Sunday, Martínez had set his daughter down on the bank near Brownsville, Texas. He was swimming across the river to grab his wife, but had to turn back for Valeria when she tried to swim after him. They both got caught in the river’s currents and drowned.
Their grim fate went viral after a photo of their bodies was captured.
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