The heartbreaking photo below reveals the tragedy of the migrant crisis after a Salvadoran man and his little daughter drowned in the Rio Grande while desperately trying to cross border into the United States.
Local media identified the man as Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez,25, and his daughter Valeria said to be only 23 months old.
Authorities said both father and daughter were found face down Monday morning in shallow water on the Mexico side of the river near Brownsville, Texas.
Martínez’s 21-year-old wife Tania Vanessa Ávalos said she was present and looked on in horror as her husband and daughter drowned in the river.
Ávalos said they left El Salvador on April 3 and spent the last two months in Mexico at a migrant camp waiting for an appointment to apply for asylum to enter the U.S. But the US has tightened restrictions on the number of migrants who can apply for asylum in the US.
Martínez reportedly grew frustrated that his family was not able to request asylum from US authorities near Brownsville, Texas, so he decided to swim across the fast-moving river on Sunday afternoon, carrying his daughter in desperate attempt to cross the border illegally into the United States.
He successfully crossed his daughter to the other side, but when he began to swim back to get his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, the little girl panicked and jumped into the river to follow him. Martinez grabbed her but the pair were taken away by the current, Ávalos told police.
Their bodies were found several hundred yards downriver, near Matamoros, Mexico.
“Very regrettable that this would happen,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday when asked about the image.
“We have always denounced that as there is more rejection in the United States, there are people who lose their lives in the desert or crossing [the river].”
They are at least the fifth and sixth people in the last week to die trying to cross the border — the bodies of four people, including two infants and a toddler, were found in Hidalgo County, Texas, on Sunday.