Photo of drowned father and daughter highlights migrants' perils
The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Ramírez and his nearly two-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande [Julia Le Duc/The Associated Press]
The man and his 23-month-old daughter lay face down in shallow water along the bank of the Rio Grande, his black shirt hiked up to his chest with the girl tucked inside. Her arm was draped around his neck suggesting she clung to him in her final moments.
The searing photograph of the sad discovery of their bodies on Monday, captured by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada, highlights the perils faced by mostly Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty and hoping for asylum in the United States.
According to Le Duc’s reporting for La Jornada, Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, frustrated because the family from El Salvador was unable to present themselves to US authorities and request asylum, swam across the river on Sunday with his daughter, Valeria.
I begged them not to go, but he wanted to scrape together money to build a home
Rosa Ramírez, mother of the drowned migrant father
He set her on the US bank of the river and started back for his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, but seeing him move away the girl threw herself into the waters. Martínez returned and was able to grab Valeria, but the current swept them both away.
The account was based on remarks by Ávalos to police at the scene – “amid tears” and “screams” – Le Duc told The Associated Press.