A shocking photo of the lifeless bodies of Oscar Alberto Martinez, 25, and his 23-month-old daughter Angie Valeria lying face down in the river fuelled global outrage, with some people blaming US crackdown on border crossings for their deaths.
The corpses of a Salvadoran father and his 23-month-old daughter, whose bodies lying face down in the Rio Grande became symbols of the perils of illegal immigration to the United States, were returned to their homeland on Sunday.
A stark photo of the dead Oscar Martinez, 25, and his daughter Angie Valeria floating near the bank of the river ignited fresh criticism of US President Donald Trump's tough policies on undocumented migrants entering the United States via Mexico.
Martinez and his family had left El Salvador in April, hoping to find work in the United States.
But their dream unravelled last Sunday when they tried to cross the river that separates northeast Mexico from the United States.
This is Óscar Martínez Ramírez and his 2-y.o. daughter Valeria. I'd rather share this picture of them than the horrific one of their drowning deaths. I am tired of the dehumanizing images of Black and Brown folks used for shock value. Recognize them for the humans that they are. pic.twitter.com/a91U7sOOJh— 𝕃ℍ 𝕄𝕠𝕠𝕣𝕖 (@ElleHM) June 26, 2019
Comparisons to Aylan Kurdi
Travelling in a convoy of government vehicles and white vans from a funeral home, the bodies of the drowned migrants left Mexico for El Salvador, where they are due to be buried on Monday. Interior Minister Mario Duran accompanied the remains but did not speak to reporters.
Amid a large police presence, Reuters news agency saw the convoy entering El Salvador at around 8:19 am local time through the border crossing of La Hachadura on the frontier with Guatemala.
The family will hold a private funeral service in La Bermeja cemetery in San Salvador on Monday.
The searing image of the prone Martinez with the toddler tucked under his black t-shirt has drawn comparisons to a 2015 photo of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian refugee, whose body washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean.