Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned Wednesday on a horrific photo of a migrant father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande river while trying to cross into the United States.
“This image is gut-wrenching,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “The cruelty we’re seeing at our border is unconscionable.”
Biden blamed their deaths on Trump administration border enforcement officials rather than the open border policies promulgated by Democrats.
“History will judge how we respond to the Trump Administration’s treatment of immigrant families & children—we can’t be silent,” he wrote. “This isn’t who we are. This is not America.”
The image will likely be a top theme of the Democrat 2020 primary debate on NBC on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, a native of El Salvador, was swept away as he tried to cross the Rio Grande with his 23-month-old daughter.
The family appeared to be economic migrants, according to an interview with the man’s mother.
“I begged them not to go, but he wanted to scrape together money to build a home,” she told the Associated Press. “They hoped to be there a few years and save up for the house.”
The family left El Salvador on April 3, spending about two months at a shelter before attempting to cross the border on their own.
At least 170 migrants have been found dead in 2019 because of their journey to cross the southern border, according to the International Organization for Migrants’ Missing Migrant Project.
President Donald Trump blamed Democrats for refusing to change the asylum laws, which were encouraging floods of migrants to attempt to cross into the United States.
“If we had the right laws that the Democrats are not letting us have, those people, they wouldn’t be coming up, they wouldn’t be trying,” he said to reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
Biden did not mention the number of migrants that died trying to cross the border during the Obama administration.
Sixty-one migrants were discovered dead in just one county in South Texas in 2016, according to a Breitbart News report, the last year of Biden’s eight years as Vice President.
This image is gut-wrenching. The cruelty we're seeing at our border is unconscionable. History will judge how we respond to the Trump Administration’s treatment of immigrant families & children—we can’t be silent. This isn't who we are. This is not America.https://t.co/ZeMBmwUHxU
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 26, 2019