The tragic photo that is overwhelming the internet shows a drowned father and daughter who died attempting to cross the Rio Grande river is opening America’s eyes to the cruel immigration policy of the Trump administration.
So far, Texas’ presidential candidates have been some of the first to discuss the harrowing image and how it relates to Trump’s increasingly dehumanizing border policy.
“Trump is responsible for these deaths,” wrote former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke in a tweet.
“As his administration refuses to follow our laws — preventing refugees from presenting themselves for asylum at our ports of entry — they cause families to cross between ports, ensuring greater suffering & death. At the expense of our humanity, not to the benefit of our safety,” O’Rourke wrote.
Since June of last year, the Trump administration has routinely and illegally turned away families who are seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Additionally, Trump rolled out his controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy this year, which forces migrants to return to Mexico to wait out their asylum claims.
The Trump administration has also practiced “metering” at points of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border, or limiting the number of asylum seekers per day and forcing them to wait for days and sometimes weeks in miserable conditions.
“Absolutely heartbreaking,” wrote Julián Castro in a tweet responding to the harrowing image of the drowned migrant family.
“Families are fleeing desperate conditions to find refuge, only for the doors to be shut in their face,” Castro continued. “We need a more sensible, compassionate immigration system that doesn’t criminalize desperation.”
Both O’Rourke and Castro have proposed solutions to the immigration crisis, including allowing a path to citizen for all undocumented residents in the U.S., as well as investing in Central America where violence, poverty and climate change have spurred on the surge in migrants.