A photo of a migrant girl and her dad who drowned in the Rio Grande sparked a new wave of revulsion at US border policy

rio grande family drowned

AP

The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, Monday, June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas.

  • A harrowing photo of a drowned migrant girl and her father has triggered an intense wave of criticism.
  • Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez from El Salvador and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria drowned on Sunday while trying to cross the river which marks the US-Mexico border. 
  • Their bodies, arm-in-arm, were found and photographed by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada. The images were republished across the US.
  • The image had a profound impact, illustrating the risks hundreds of migrants take to reach the US.
  • US politicians have used the photo to attack White House border policy, with Beto O'Rourke tweeting that Donald Trump is personally responsible. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A distressing photo of a migrant child and her father drowned on the banks of the Rio Grande river has intensified the condemnation of US border policy like never before.

Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez from El Salvador and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria drowned on Sunday while trying to cross the river which straddles the US and Mexico. Advertisement

Their bodies were photographed by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada. The father and daughter were found on Monday, arm-in-arm on the riverbank by Matamoros, Mexico, across the river from Brownsville, Texas.

Since publication, the photo has spread across social media, and has triggered a wave of fury aimed at Donald Trump's treatment of South American "migrant caravan."

The New York Times featured the image on its Wednesday front page, captioning it "Horror and Heartbreak."
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NTY front page migrant drown

The New York Times

The New York Times' front page on Wednesday.

The United Nation refugee agency tweeted to say the scene depicted was "unacceptable," adding "Everyone has the right to seek asylum."The Vatican released a statement on Wednesday which said: "The pope is profoundly saddened by their death, and is praying for them and for all migrants who have lost their lives while seeking to flee war and misery." Advertisement

Democratic nominee hopeful Beto O'Rourke tweeted: "Trump is responsible for these deaths."

He added in a second tweet: "As his administration refuses to follow our laws -- preventing refugees from presenting themselves for asylum at our ports of entry -- they cause families to cross between ports, ensuring greater suffering & death. At the expense of our humanity, not to the benefit of our safety."

Kamala Harris, also vying for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, tweeted on Tuesday night: "These families seeking asylum are often fleeing extreme violence. And what happens when they arrive? Trump says, 'Go back to where you came from.'."Advertisement

"That is inhumane. Children are dying. This is a stain on our moral conscience."

Mexico border ap drowned migrants rio grande

AP

A police cordon around the site where the father and his daughter were found on Monday.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday: "Very regrettable that this would happen. 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."Advertisement

Former Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly, author of "The United States of Trump: How the President Really Sees America," pointed the finger at Congress instead of the president.  

"The terrible picture of a migrant father and his young daughter laying dead in the Rio Grande River should finally wake up every American to the fact that Congress has failed to deal with this now life-death situation," he tweeted.

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