Heartbreaking photo highlights plight of migrants trying to enter the USA

Soldiers searching the banks of the Rio Grande for the bodies of a father  and his daughter.
Soldiers searching the banks of the Rio Grande for the bodies of a father and his daughter. Photo credit: AAP

Warning this article contains a disturbing image that may upset people. 

A photo of a father and his daughter who died after trying to cross the Rio Grande has drawn attention to the plight of migrants trying to enter the US. 

The harrowing picture, taken by journalist Julia Le Duc, shows Oscar Martinez lying in the shallow waters of the bank of the river with his two-year-old daughter Valeria.

She is tucked inside his black t-shirt and has her arm draped around his neck, as if she was clinging on to him for dear life. 

A total of 283 migrant deaths were recorded along the Mexican-Us border last year, the toll this year is not yet known, but this image, which has been widely reported, has brought home how treacherous the crossing can be. 

 

The shocking picture of a father and his daughter who died crossing the Rio Grande into the US.
The shocking picture of a father and his daughter who died crossing the Rio Grande into the US. Photo credit: AAP

It has been compared to the image of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose body washed up on the shores of the Meditteranean near Turkey in 2015 and prompted global action over refugees fleeing Syria. 

Martinez, his wife and daughter left El Salvador in April and headed for the US AP reports. They tried to cross the river on Sunday local time, and their bodies were found on Tuesday. 

Martinez's mother Rosa Ramirez said she had spoken to his surviving wife, who said he had taken Valeria across the river and returned to get her. When he left Valeria she jumped into the water.

"When the girl jumped in is when he tried to reach her, but when he tried to grab the girl, he went in further ... and he couldn't get out," Ramírez told AP. "He put her in his shirt, and I imagine he told himself, 'I've come this far' and decided to go with her."

Le Duc, a reporter for La Jordana and based near the Rio Grande told AP she had covered many deaths of people trying to cross the treacherous stretch of river, but this story had moved her.  

 "It was something that moved me in the extreme because it reflects that until her last breath, she was joined to him not only by the shirt but also in that embrace in which they passed together into death," Le Duc told AP. 

Le Duc, in a written piece for the Guardian, questioned if the heartbreaking image will change anything.   

"These families have nothing, and they are risking everything for a better life. If scenes like this don’t make us think again – if they don’t move our decision-makers – then our society is in a bad way," she wrote.

Newshub. 

 

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