The photograph can be haunting, a shocking reminder of the dangers many immigrants face when they attempt to cross into the United States from Mexico. It shows human losses of a crisis at the border that is often a subject of debate with abstract statistics and detached policy arguments.
The image is of a Salvadoran father and his daughter lying face down in the water of the Rio Grande, part of the US borders with Mexico, is a heartbreaking scene that shows the suffering behind the numbers.
Advocates had been warning for months that deaths at the border would increase, as migrants are forced to cross the borders by passing through more dangerous areas by US policies that make it even harder for those who seek asylum to turn themselves in at ports of entry.
Oscar Alberto Martinez and his young daughter were identified by officials from El Salvador as Angie Valeria Martinez, drowned in the water of the Rio Grande as they tried to slip into the United States on Sunday.
Their bodies were found across the river from Brownsville, Texas, near Matamoros on Monday. The Associated Press reported that the young daughter was only 2 years old.
The photo was taken by Julia Le Duc, a journalist who lives in Mexico.
In the photograph, the 2-year-old girl is tucked inside her father’s shirt, her arm is slung around his neck as they lie near the shore. Their bodies have come to rest next to five discarded beer cans and an empty soda bottle near a riverbank. Another beer floats next to the young girl’s body.
Mexican authorities walk along the river bank where the two bodies were found.
The photo evoked memories of a 3-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey. The iconic 2015 image of the drowned Syrian toddler lying all wet in the sand continues to stir discussion over policies toward migrants.
The deaths of the father and child prompted Salvadoran Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexandra Hill to beg her countrymen to stay and work with the government as it tries to solve the economic issues that cause many to look to migrate north.
“Our country is in mourning, again. I beg you, to all the families, parents, don’t risk it. Life is worth a lot more,” she added.
Hill said that the government is still working with Mexican authorities to repatriate the remains.
El Salvador’s newly elected Nayib Bukele President and said that the government would help the family financially.
CNN’s Andrea Diaz and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.