White House Praises Rescue of Migrants From Rio Grande on Facebook—While Staying Silent on Deaths of Father and Child

The international community recently erupted over a haunting photo of a father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to cross into the U.S. However, the White House has taken to Facebook to praise the U.S. Border Patrol and military for rescuing migrants from the same river that claimed the lives of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria.

On Wednesday, the White House penned three Facebook posts about the Rio Grande, in two cases lauding the rescues of a 13-year-old boy and a mother and her child, while the third post touted the arrests of hundreds of migrants caught trying to cross into the U.S. through the deadly river.

Absent from the White House's Facebook page that day, however, was any mention of the Rio Grande deaths captured in a photo splashed across front pages around the world.

In the photo, Martínez and Valeria can be seen lying face down, drowned in the shallow waters by a bank of the Rio Grande. Valeria is tucked into her father's shirt, with her arm still wrapped around his neck.

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Martínez and his wife had decided the family would attempt to cross the Rio Grande out of desperation. They had been forced to wait two months in Mexico without being able to present themselves to U.S. authorities to request asylum, according to journalist Julia Le Duc, who captured the haunting photo.

The journalist said Martínez had first crossed the river with Valeria and set her down on the U.S. side of the bank of the river. However, when he began to swim back to get his wife, Valeria threw herself into the water after him.

The father raced back and was able to grab his daughter, but the two were swept away by the current.

While the White House did not make any mention of Martínez and Valeria's deaths on its Facebook page on Wednesday, it repeatedly made the Rio Grande the focus of its posts throughout the day.

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In one post, the White House lauded Border Patrol agents for having "rescued and performed CPR on a 13-year-old boy found submerged and unresponsive in the Rio Grande River."

"Thanks to their efforts, he began breathing and regained consciousness before being transported to a local hospital," it said, before adding that Congress must "act to end this crisis" unfolding at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In another post, the White House shared a statement from U.S. Northern Command praising Staff Sgt. Michael Mathews and 1st Lt. Samuel Mueller after the former jumped into the water to rescue a woman and her child, while the latter used his shirt as a makeshift lifeline until border officials could arrive and throw them a rescue line.

The White House also posted about how, on June 22 and 24, Customs and Border Protection arrested two large groups that had crossed the Rio Grande River into the U.S., with one group including 205 migrants, while the other included 105 people.

In that post, the White House once again called on Congress to "act to end this crisis."

While the White House appeared to remain mum on social media throughout the day about Martínez and Valeria's deaths, President Donald Trump did react to the photo on Wednesday saying: "I hate it," before appearing to blame the Democrats in Congress for not changing the asylum policies he has blamed for the surge in arrivals of asylum seekers at the southern border.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer hit out at the comments, asserting: "These are not drug dealers or vagrants or criminals. They are people simply fleeing a horrible situation in their home country."

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package to address the situation at the border after rejecting a House measure.

The Senate bill includes additional funding for the Department of Defense and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which was not included in the House bill.

 Óscar and his daughter Angie Valeria
Óscar Alberto Martinez Ramírez and his young daughter Valeria died trying to cross the Rio Grande River to get to the U.S. after making the journey to the border from El Salvador. North Texas Dream Team
White House Praises Rescue of Migrants From Rio Grande on Facebook—While Staying Silent on Deaths of Father and Child | U.S.