The man and child who drowned while trying to illegally enter the United States via the Rio Grande reportedly ignored advice to avoid crossing the swift waters.
The family, who come from El Salvador, attempted to request asylum in the United States over the weekend, but were told that they would not be able to until Monday.
Xiomara Mejia, a migrant from Honduras who is also attempting to enter the USA, told the Associated Press that he could recall the family’s reaction.
“They said to me, ‘You haven’t tried to cross the river?’” Mejia said. “We said to them, ‘No,’ because of the children more than anything. I don’t know how to swim and my kids do, but either way I’m not going to risk it.”
In the end, the family chose to risk the river current. After swimming his daughter across, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez headed back for his wife when the child suddenly attempted to follow him and was swept away.
Attempting to rescue his child, Martínez drowned. The bodies were discovered on Monday, and Martínez’s 21-year-old wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, escorted the bodies back to El Salvador earlier today.
Ramírez’s mother, Rosa Ramírez, said she had given the family a room in her own home, but the couple had ambitions of going to the United States.
“I told him, ‘Son, don’t go. But if you do go, leave me the girl,’” Ramírez said.
″‘No, mama,’” she said he replied. ”‘How can you think that I would leave her?’”
The decision -along with the choice to illegally cross the Rio Grande- ended in tragedy for the family, who now faces more uncertainty than ever before.
On the internet, Salvadoran chat group spelled out the reason they did not mimic the 2018 migrant caravan.
“If one goes there, they shouldn’t bring children, because going there is risking everything and a child is not prepared for that,” one message said.
“The thing is, it’s more likely that they give you help with children,” someone replied.
“But that’s only if they manage to arrive there.”
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