The cruel reality of the migration crisis on America's southern border was captured in a series of images depicting the lifeless bodies of a Salvadoran father and daughter drowning as they attempted to cross the Rio Grande to Texas.
The photos taken on Monday show the 26-year-old Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria, lying face down in the shallow water. The 23-month-old's arm is wrapped around her father's neck, suggesting she clung to him in her last moments.
Mexican newspapers compared the photo with the picture of 3-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi of 201
Their bodies were discovered on the bank of the river near Matamoros, Mexico, opposite Brownsville, Texas. Only one kilometer from an international bridge.
According to Julia Le Duc, a reporter for the La Jornada newspaper, Martínez Ramírez failed to introduce himself to the US authorities and seek asylum for the river with his daughter.
He dropped her off on the US bank of the river and headed back to his wife Vanessa Ávalos, but as he moved him away, the girl threw herself into the water. Martínez returned and grabbed Valeria, but the current tore them both away. The report was based on statements made by Ávalos to the local police.
The picture underscores the dangers facing Central American migrants in particular in trying to escape violence, corruption and poverty at home to seek asylum in the US.
As part of a wider fight against migration, the Trump administration has kept asylum seekers in Mexico waiting while their claims are being considered – a process that can take years. Migrants have increasingly turned to more remote and dangerous paths across the southern border.
On Sunday, two babies, one toddler and one woman were found dead after succumbing to exhaustion in Anzalduas Park, which adjoins the river in the city's mission
Elsewhere, three children and one adult died Honduras in April, after their raft capsized on the Rio Grande, and a six-year-old from India was found dead earlier this month in Arizona, where temperatures regularly rise well above 30 ° C.
So far this year, dozens of people have died trying to cross the Rio Grande, where the water level has reached its highest level in 20 years, and the record-breaking runoff from snowmelt has turned the river into a raging stream.  Claudia Hernández, a Mexican police officer in the border town of Piedras Negras, told the Guardian: "The river is tricky and the people who are not from here do not know that. I grew up here on the Río Bravo River [Río Grande]. I would not even go into the water to bathe or swim. There are springs and whirlpools, and if the current breaks you can guess it. "
Isabel Turcios, a Franciscan nun, head of the Casa del Migrante home in Piedras Negras, said local activists warn migrants against trying their luck on the river, but the US has the number of migrants that everyone Day to apply for asylum, drastically reduced.
"People are getting desperate and can not wait any longer. They just want to cross. So they go to the river and without protection – no life jacket, nothing that could save them – in the river. They always tell me that if God wants them to do it, they will somehow make it.
She added, "It's not as it should be. You should be able to cross the bridges. Everyone has the right to migrate. It is a human right. "
Meanwhile, Mexico itself has acted against migrants as the government sought to ward off Trump's threat of trade tariffs.
"Very regrettable that this would happen," said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador further Tuesday in response to a question on the recent deaths at the border. "As there is more rejection in the United States, there are people who lose their lives in the desert or cross the river."
According to local press reports, Martínez, Ávalos and their daughter left their home in the community of San Martín in April and told her family that they intended to seek asylum in Mexico.
But after two months of waiting in the southern city of Tapachula – and scared of the Mexican authorities – the family decided to keep going.
They said they were afraid of migrants, which had something to do with the pressure of Trump. That's why they decided to cross the river. Their plan was to surrender to the US migration, "said Martínez & Sister Wendy to El Diario de Hoy.
Enrique Gómez, a cousin of Martínez, tweeted an appeal to Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele for help in repatriating the bodies . Gómez said the family had asked the Salvadoran government for help, but paid $ 7,000 to $ 8,000 to return the bodies. Bukeles office asked Gómez to send a private message and promised to begin repatriation.
The photograph of Martínez and his daughter sparked a search for souls among some Mexicans, although recent surveys showed that attitudes towards migrants have increased in recent months.
"The image of a father and little one in the Rio Bravo … is a painful symptom of our systematic failure," tweeted the author Alma Delia Murillo. "And on top of that, there are idiots who blame the migrants for taking the risk."
Surveyor Parametría showed that 58% of Mexicans are against immigrants arriving from Central America. Only 32% of respondents expressed the same opinion in November when caravans from Central America crossed the country and were greeted with generous spouts.
This report contains material from Associated Press