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Tragedy at the Mexican border: Reminiscent of Aylan Kurdi

Tragedy at the Mexican border: Reminiscent of Aylan Kurdi

Posted June. 27, 2019 07:35,   

Updated June. 27, 2019 07:35


It happened on the riverbanks of Rio Grande of Mexico Matamoros, just a kilometer away from Brownsville, Texas on Sunday afternoon. A young father from El Salvador in his twenties was seen in this area where there are many Latin Americans seeking to cross the border to the U.S. He placed his 23- month-old daughter under his T-shirt. The child wrapped her arms around her father as well. When they reached halfway across the river, they were swept away by the strong water currents. Their dead bodies were found the next day, looking just as they did on the day they went missing.

This photo taken by Mexican daily La Jornada, has touched the hearts of people all over the world. It is a photograph of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez (age 25) and his daughter Valeria. “The photo recalls the 2015 image of a 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean near Turkey,” reported The Associated Press.

According to Tania Vanessa Ávalos (age 21), the mother of the child, the family left El Salvador on April 3 and arrived at the immigrant shelter in Tapachula, the southern part of Mexico. They stayed there for two months and moved to Matamoros on Sunday to request for asylum. The bridge to Texas had been closed, however. They chose to cross the river and suffered. “My husband had placed my daughter on the other side of the river. He went back to help me but seeing him move away she threw herself into the waters,” she cried.

The number of people that passed away last year at the border of the U.S. and Mexico was 283, according to The Associated Press. The Rio Grande River, in particular, is a key channel that people use to flee to the United States. More than 40 percent of illegal migrants were apprehended at this river.

It has been reported that there are some 1,700 people awaiting at the Matamoros consulate. There are many other illegal immigrants that have suffered similar fates attempting to enter the U.S. via illegal routes.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com