By now you’ve probably seen that heartbreaking photo of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria from El Salvador who drowned while attempting to cross the Rio Grande river and enter the U.S. to, presumably, apply for asylum.
But the 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:
The portrait of desperation was captured on Monday by the journalist Julia Le Duc, in the hours after Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez drowned with his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, as they tried to cross from Mexico to the U.S. https://t.co/GAp2tKSy3h
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 26, 2019
From the article:
This is an important distinction as the narrative that’s been building so far is that the family was desperate to enter the U.S. because of “metering” — a system that puts asylum seekers in a queue to apply for asylum — was a factor in the family’s decision to attempt to cross the river rather than wait:
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
FWIW, Vox’s Dara Lind, who has written extensively on “metering,” is cautioning reporters on blaming the practice until more is known:
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
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