Contrary to the left’s narrative about the father and child who tragically drowned trying to illegally cross the U.S. border, the family from El Salvador was reportedly not escaping violence in their home country.
Relatives of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, have indicated that although the family, which included wife and mother Tania Vanessa Ávalos, were hoping to request asylum in the United States, they were not victims of violence in their homeland, according to a report by The New York Times Wednesday.
BREAKING NEWS: Horrific picture emerges of Salvadoran migrant father, 25, and his 23-month-old daughter washed up on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande after drowning in front of child’s mother. Highlights tragedy of the border crisis as illegal crossings surge to new highs. pic.twitter.com/FRi1VL8bLE
— Dave Vescio (@DaveVescio) June 26, 2019
Liberals have been unashamedly blaming President Trump and his administration for the tragic deaths, though even former President Obama’s administration would also likely have denied asylum to the family since immediate danger was not a factor in their decision to leave El Salvador.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke about the image of the father and child lying face down on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande where they had died while attempting to swim across and enter the U.S. illegally.
2020 Dems whip up anger over photo of drowned migrant with baby; threaten to shut down facilities https://t.co/rsA9FIzagN
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 26, 2019
An Associated Press report cited journalist Julia Le Duc’s story and photo which were published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada:
According to Le Duc’s reporting for La Jornada, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, frustrated because the family from El Salvador was unable to present themselves to U.S. authorities and request asylum, swam across the river on Sunday with his daughter, Valeria.
He set her on the U.S. bank of the river and started back for his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, but seeing him move away the girl threw herself into the waters. Martínez returned and was able to grab Valeria, but the current swept them both away.
Democratic presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey blamed the president for the deaths.
Trump is responsible for these deaths. https://t.co/UZirFjh3fm
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 26, 2019
CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon discussed the image and lambasted Trump as well as opponents of illegal immigration during a segment on “CNN Tonight” Tuesday.
This is exactly why you take a photo like that. Because it haunts. It keeps us up all night. We must practice compassion. Doesn’t mean condoning illegality. It means being decent to even those we don’t let In or even deport. We can be better. We all know this. https://t.co/6YKe3szwJH
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) June 26, 2019
Many in the mainstream media blamed a so-called “metering” policy for the desperate decision by Martínez Ramírez to get his family across the river.
New: Father and daughter who drowned went to U.S. consulate to claim asylum. Apparently unable to do so, likely thanks to “metering” policy, they tried to cross the river. https://t.co/2NCbMAUhvS
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) June 26, 2019
The “metering” policy, which places asylum-seekers in a queue to apply, has “dramatically reduced the number of migrants who are allowed to request asylum, down from dozens per day previously to sometimes just a handful at some ports of entry,” the AP reported.
With the tragic death of a dad and his daughter yesterday, “metering” is back in the news. So, what’s metering?
Metering is when CBP sets a cap on asylum seekers coming to ports of entry. Since May 2018, <4,500 families and kids per month have been able to access asylum at POEs. pic.twitter.com/5yiCQmlXUi
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) June 25, 2019
But the media was cautioned not to assume the policy was to blame in this case, as Vox’s Dara Lind tweeted.
The reason this particular backstory matters is that this viral pic is already being used to justify a “these people died because they were subjected to metering” narrative and….we don’t know that
— Dara Lind (@DLind) June 26, 2019
The New York Times report appeared to shed more light on this with interviews of relatives:
Some are fleeing gangs that cripple the region and kill wantonly. Others are seeking an economic lifeline.
Such was the case with Mr. Martínez and his wife, who left El Salvador in early April intent on starting fresh in the United States, according to Jorge Beltran, a reporter for El Diario de Hoy in El Salvador who interviewed some of the couple’s relatives.
Mr. Martínez quit his job at Papa John’s, where he had earned about $350 a month. By then, his wife had already left her job as a cashier at a Chinese restaurant to take care of their daughter.
The couple lived with Mr. Martínez’s mother in the community of Altavista, a massive housing complex of tiny concrete houses east of San Salvador, according to Mr. Beltran.
Though Altavista is under the control of gangs, the couple was not fleeing from violence, Rosa Ramírez, Mr. Martínez’s mother, told him. Rather, the grind of surviving as a family on $10 a day had become unmanageable.
Twitter users discussed the emotional reactions to the tragic story and the cautionary note to get all the facts before spreading “fake news” about who is to blame.
“New York Times is reporting this morning that relatives say that Martínez and his family was not fleeing violence at home, and therefore it’s likely that their asylum claim would have been denied, which is true in both the Trump and Obama administrations…”
— Alaska Four-9???? (@Alaska_Four_9) June 26, 2019
The *REAL* story here is that someone @voxdotcom actually called for everyone to get the facts straight before hypothesizing breathlessly, digging yet another media credibility hole.
— John Anker (@JC_Anker) June 26, 2019
In story below, Oscar’s mom & sister give additional detail. Hard to square all but it says: left San Salvador early April, spent 2 months in shelter in Tapachula, applied for MX asylum, got tired of waiting, felt somewhat nervous by Trump pressure on AMLO https://t.co/et7LljryFt
— José Díaz-Briseño (@diazbriseno) June 26, 2019
Oh wow, so it wasn’t metering, the two month wait was in Tapachula and not Matamoros? Thank you, that’s new information for me. So COMAR delays, tightened enforcement in southern Mexico, and the sense that they had to go before Trump did something drastic led to the tragedy.
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) June 26, 2019
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