- The New York Times’ front page Wednesday morning featured a photo of a drowned father and daughter, who were migrating from El Salvador to the U.S.
- The father in the photo became “frustrated” when he was unable to present himself and his young daughter to U.S. authorities at the southern border after spending two months in a shelter in Mexico.
- The Times compared the photo to that of a young Syrian boy buried in rubble in Aleppo after an airstrike.
A devastating photo of a man and his 23-month-old daughter drowned in the Rio Grande was featured at the top of The New York Times’ front page Wednesday.
Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez decided to swim across the river Sunday after migrating from El Salvador and becoming “frustrated” when he was unable to present himself and his young daughter, Valeria, to U.S. authorities at the southern border, AP reported Wednesday.
Martínez set his daughter on the bank of the river in Brownsville, Texas, before taking off swimming to get his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos. When the little girl threw herself in the water after her father, however, he turned back to save her, but they were both swept away by the water’s current.
The NY Times front page this morning shows the haunting image of the bodies of a migrant and his 23-month-old daughter. pic.twitter.com/meCHWjImK4
— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) June 26, 2019
“Like the iconic photo of a bleeding Syrian child pulled from the rubble in Aleppo after an airstrike or the 1993 shot of a starving toddler and a nearby vulture in Sudan, the image of a single father and his young child washed up on the Rio Grande’s shore had the potential to prick the public conscience,” the New York Times wrote, recalling a 2016 photo of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh.
Others compared the photo to a viral 2015 image of a three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean.
The searing photograph of father and daughter highlights the perils faced by mostly Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty and hoping for asylum in the US.
It recalls the 2015 photo of 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean near Turkey. pic.twitter.com/Aev6hNlimE
— Negar Mortazavi (@NegarMortazavi) June 26, 2019
“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,” Martínez’s mother, Rosa Ramírez, 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.”
Martínez’s family left El Salvador in April and spent two months at a shelter in Tapachula, Mexico, before traveling to the U.S. border. (RELATED: Democratic Mayor: ‘We Are Sick And Tired’ Of Government Inaction On Illegal Immigration)
“I begged them not to go,” Martínez’s mother said, “but he wanted to scrape together money to build a home. They hoped to be there a few years and save up for the house.”
There were 238 total migrant deaths at the southern border in 2018, which is a significant decrease since 2012, when 463 people were found dead. There has been an increase, however, in the total number of migrants traveling to the border, with the number of encounters with illegal immigrants growing every month since January. There were over 100,000 encounters in both March and April.
The House passed a $4.5 billion immigration package 230-195 Tuesday in an effort to address the border crisis. The bill aims to require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to create health standards and provide translation services for child and adult migrants being detained. It also aims to make sure migrant children spend less time in shelters. (RELATED: House Passes $4.5 Billion Immigration Package)
When President Donald Trump held the longest government shutdown in history in January to demand $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the president “must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government.”
Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said, “This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.”
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