PRESIDENT Donald Trump appeared to blame current immigration laws – and Democrats’ refusal to change them – for the drowning death of a father and his young daughter as they tried to cross the Rio Grande river to get into the United States.
Photographs of the two migrants, lying face down near the bank of the river, has sparked new outrage and controversy over the current border crisis. Asked about the images, Trump suggested that if Congress fixed the laws, as he has demanded, such incidents would not happen. “People are running through the Rio Grande,” he told reporters on the White House South Lawn, before leaving for Japan. If “we had the right laws ... people won’t come up and people won’t get killed.” Trump said Democrats have refused to close “loopholes” and restrict asylum policies, a message he reiterated again via Twitter after he was on Air Force One.
“The Democrats should change the Loopholes and Asylum Laws so lives will be saved at our Southern Border,” the president tweeted. “They said it was not a crisis at the Border, that it was all just ‘manufactured.’ Now they admit that I was right - But they must do something about it. Fix the Laws NOW!” The searing photographs, taken by journalist Julia Le Duc, shows Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria deceased and face down on a muddy riverbank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, after trying to cross to the US side of the river. Trump was apparently referencing his demands that Congress change asylum and other immigration laws that he says create an incentive for immigrants to bring children with them on an often perilous journey from Central America and other countries to reach the US.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she hoped the pictures of two migrants would help change the Trump administration’s hardline stance on immigration.