A 25-year-old dad was tired of his $350 a month job and wished to enter America along with his 23-month-daughter and 21-year-old wife.
Amidst the heartbreaking reality that migrant adults and children face comes another one. A 25-year-old young father and his 23-months old toddler, Valeria drowned trying to swim across the Rio Grande, while his now widow Ávalos watched them helplessly reports PEOPLE. Recalling her son's determination to go to America, the mother of the late Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, Rosa Ramírez said, "I begged them not to go, but he wanted to scrape together money to build a home." Speaking to the Associated Press, she continued, "They hoped to be there a few years and save up for the house."
Despite his mother's constant pleas to not go to America, Óscar was determined to leave behind his $350 a month job at a pizzeria in El Salvador and start a better life in America with his wife, 21-year-old Tania Vanessa Ávalos and daughter. His wife Ávalos too worked at a Chinese restaurant but tried to come back home as soon as possible to care for their daughter. The family lived in a two-bedroom house situated on the outskirts of San Salvador. Rosa then informed the outlet how she gave the larger bedroom to her son and daughter-in-law but they weren't satisfied with their $10 a day life.
🤦🏽♀️😞— Shonna C (@clark18894) June 29, 2019
Before Óscar left for America, his mother demanded that they leave her grandchild behind. "I told him, 'Son, don’t go. But if you do go, leave me the girl,'" she told the Associated Press. To this, her son replied, "No, mamá. How can you think that I would leave her?" Lamenting their fate, Rosa said, "He didn’t have the courage to leave her." About three months ago, they left home along with their brother and spent two months at a shelter in Tapachula, near the Mexican border while waiting to get asylum in America.
Heartbreaking story behind picture that has shocked America: Salvadoran father carried daughter to US side of Rio Grande and swam back for his wife but drowned when scared toddler jumped BACK IN and pair got swept away https://t.co/5rru5LbkQy pic.twitter.com/vBa70X1pZB— Jolly Mampilly (@jollymampilly) June 26, 2019
The impatient family then decided to take a bus to the Border themselves in order to speed things up. Unfortunately, on their arrival, the consulate was closed for the day. As per the Daily Mail, the family discovered that there were hundreds of other migrants before them, who were waiting to be interviewed. Taking matters into their own hand, they decided to cross the border illegally instead of waiting. During this attempt, Óscar first carried his daughter Valeria from Matamoros in Mexico and placed her safely on the banks of the river in Brownsville, Texas.
"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."https://t.co/VIwYpKLK74— Maria Aristodemou (@maariaris) June 26, 2019
He then turned around to help his wife get on to the other side. Seeing her father swim away, the toddler jumped into the water. In an attempt to save Valeria, Óscar swam towards her and thankfully got a hold of her, however, the strong current got the best of the two and swept both of them away as his helpless wife watched horrified from the other side. Their bodies were discovered the next day in the most heartwrenching manner. Valeria was tucked inside her father's t-shirt while her hand was still placed across his shoulders.
Mr. Trump — I can’t look at this picture and call you Mr. President — this is on you. May it be seared into your pathetic memory until your dying day: https://t.co/0JoAHPB3ud— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) June 26, 2019
After witnessing the picture of her dead son and grandchild, Rosa said, "It’s astonishing to see this photo." She also revealed how protective Óscar was of his daughter. "He never let her go. You can see how he protected her." Lawyers perceive this death of the two as an inhuman example of President Donald Trump’s stand on asylum-seekers. The family risked the water only after trying to go through the port entry. According to PEOPLE, the details about them actually being able to meet with the officials concerning the asylum is varied, although Times reported that the family was informed that the bridge would be closed until Monday.
7 children have died while in US custody. How many more that we haven’t heard about? These precious lives were lost because they couldn’t present at port of entry due to Trump’s metering policy.— Anne Jacobs (@Logicalifornia) June 26, 2019
Speaking to The Washington Post, Woodson Martin who works for a Brownsville nonprofit informed how living in Matamoros had its own risks. "It’s a dangerous place to be a person, and it’s certainly a dangerous place to be a migrant," he said. This revelation goes on to explain why the family might have taken such a drastic measure. Óscar presumably did not want to halt his journey, seeing how the end seemed so close. Rosa, too, echoed the same sentiments. She said, "He put her in his shirt, and I imagine he told himself, ‘I’ve come this far’ and decided to go with her."
This man was trying to bring his family to this country. That's why our ancestors (other than those who were brought in chains) came to this land in the first place. He died trying to give his family a better life.— Lil Ray Sunshine (@pdamon411) June 26, 2019
America, we aren't so beautiful anymore.
During an interview, Ávalos revealed Óscar "loved his daughter so much. He loved her and that’s why he took her." Revealing their bond she added, "Neither one of them let each other go. That’s how they died, both of them hugging." Óscar's sister reportedly said that the family "went for the American dream." All the parents wanted was "a better future for their girl" disclosed Ávalos' mother. Holding Valeria's favorite toys in her hand, Rosa said, "I would say to those who are thinking of migrating, 'They should think it over,'" whilst wistfully adding, "Because not everyone can live that American dream you hear about."
No, it is on his parents for taking their child on a very dangerous and illegal journey.— Pugsley 🐀🚑🇨🇦 (@PugsleySiegel) June 27, 2019
You can try and point fingers all you want but it is down to the parents for making that decision.