Warning: graphic content.
A photo of a Salvadoran man and his 23-month-old daughter who tragically died while trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas published by The New York Times and circulated online has sparked intense response from people from all ends of the political spectrum. Pressed for a reaction to the image, President Trump told reporters that such tragedies will continue to occur if “open borders” policies are promoted.
The heartbreaking photograph was first published by Mexican papers this week, but soon promoted by major American media outlets, including The New York Times, which placed the photograph on the front page of Wednesday’s issue, and CNN, which tweeted it out Wednesday. “A shocking image of a drowned man and his daughter underscores the crisis at the US-Mexico border,” CNN’s caption reads.
The Salvadoran man, Oscar Alberto Martínez, was attempting to cross the Rio Grande with his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, on Sunday near Brownsville, Texas.
“They actually had made it to the Texas side initially, and Martinez placed his child there before turning around to get his wife, a journalist says,” CNN reports. “But when Angie Valeria saw her father swimming away, she jumped in after him, according to Julia Le Duc, the photographer who captured the image of the pair.”
Asked for his response to the horrific photograph Wednesday, Trump told reporters, “Open borders mean people drowning in the rivers.”
“If they fix the laws you wouldn’t have that. People are coming up, they’re running through the Rio Grande. It can be a rough river,” said Trump, in comments reported by The Washington Times.
Trump later posted a comment about the current failures of our immigration policies on Twitter, putting the issue squarely at the feet of Democrats.
“The Democrats should change the Loopholes and Asylum Laws so lives will be saved at our Southern Border,” the president wrote. “They said it was not a crisis at the Border, that it was all just ‘manufactured.’ Now they admit that I was right – But they must do something about it. Fix the Laws NOW!”
“The image has sparked massive soul-searching on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans alike said something needs to change,” the Washington Times reports. “The first change is likely to be passage of an emergency funding bill this week to ease overcrowding in U.S. facilities designed to process illegal immigrants who just crossed and were caught. … But the bill won’t change the incentives that push the migrants to leave Central America and to jump the border, certain that if they come as families they’ll be able to gain an illegal foothold in the U.S.”