“They wanted a better future for their girl,” María Estela Ávalos, the grandmother of the nearly two-year-old girl who died while her parents were trying to seek asylum in the United States, told The Washington Post. Rosa Ramirez, the mother of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, the 25-year-old man who drowned alongside his daughter Valeria, told the Associated Press she finds it difficult to look at the photograph of their bodies. The photo, showing Ramírez and Valeria laying face down in the river, shocked the public’s conscience when it was first published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, and later by the AP. “You can see how he protected her, they died in each other’s arms,” Ramirez said. Her son worked constantly to provide for his family in El Salvador, eventually selling his motorcycle and borrowing money to find a better life in America.
After traveling over 1,000 miles, the family was turned away at an international bridge in Matamoros, Mexico, The Washington Post reports. With Texas in sight, the family waded into the Rio Grande, but father and daughter were pulled under. Their deaths have been attributed to two disasters: powerful waters and Trump’s immigration practice known as “metering,” which dramatically reduced the number of migrants allowed to request asylum each day. “The direct cause of the death of that father and daughter is the metering policy at the bridge,” Woodson Martin of Team Brownsville, a nonprofit that goes to Matamoros every day to hand out food and water to migrants, told The Washington Post.