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PHOTOS of a father and his 23-month-old daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande river sparked condemnation of the US’s “inhumane” migration policies today.
Oscar Martinez Ramirez, 25, left El Salvador with his 21-year-old wife and their daughter Valeria and decided to make the risky crossing from Mexico to the US on Sunday.
GRAFIC CONTENT - The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Martinez Ramirez and his daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande in Matamoros, between Mexico and the United States, are pictured on June 24, 2019. #AFP pic.twitter.com/DeLAPLGh6L
— AFPMexico (@AFPMexico) June 26, 2019
The family had been living in Mexico for two months on a humanitarian visa but decided to cross the river after being unable to present themselves to US officials and seek asylum.
Isabel Turcios, director of Casa del Migrante, an NGO which provides temporary accommodation for migrants, said that local activists have been warning migrants not to try their luck on the river.
She also said that people get desperate as the US has drastically reduced the number of people allowed to request asylum each day.
“It’s not how things should be,” Ms Turcios said. “They should be able to cross at the bridges. Every human being has the right to migrate. It’s a human right.”
Democrat presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker blamed US President Donald Trump for the deaths.
Mr Booker said: “These are the consequences of Donald Trump’s inhumane and immoral immigration policy. This is being done in our name.”
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is facing pressure from Mr Trump on the issue of migrants crossing over, having been threatened with higher tariffs on Mexican goods last month.
“Very regrettable that this would happen,” said Mr Lopez Obrador yesterday. “As there is more rejection in the United States, there are people who lose their lives in the desert or crossing the river.”
On June 7 Mexico agreed to reinforce its southern border with 6,000 National Guardsmen.
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