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Beto O'Rourke says President Trump 'responsible' for deaths of father and toddler who drowned in Rio Grande

The Democratic presidential candidate used a graphic image as political fodder

PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke has blamed President Donald Trump for the deaths of an El Salvadorian father and his child who died while attempting to enter the U.S. illegally through the Rio Grande river.

O'Rourke posted a graphic image to social media showing the bodies of the drowning victims with the message, "Trump is responsible for these deaths."

What are the details?

According to the Associated Press, the father, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, became frustrated after he was not able to present his family to U.S. authorities to request asylum at a point of entry. On Sunday, Mr. Ramirez swam across the river with his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, in tow.

Once on the Texas side of the river, Mr. Ramirez left the toddler on the bank while he swam back across to retrieve his wife, Tania Vanessa Avalos. But when Valeria saw her father leave, she jumped back into the water. The father was able to grab his child but the two were swept away in the current.

Their bodies were discovered the next day, hundreds of yards from where the family attempted to cross. A picture of the two lying facedown and lifeless in shallow water began circulating online, and on Tuesday, O'Rourke used it to place blame on President Trump for his administration's handling of the ongoing humanitarian and national security crisis at the U.S. southern border.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," O'Rourke wrote in a post sharing an AP story depicting the image. The Democrat added, "As his administration refuses to follow our laws ā€” preventing refuges from presenting themselves for asylum at our ports of entry ā€” they cause families to cross between ports, ensuring greater suffering & death. At the expense of our humanity, not to the benefit of our safety."

Anything else?

Waves of Central American migrants have been illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico at record numbers over the past several months, ratcheting up a political blame game over how best to deal with the border crisis.

President Trump and several congressional Republicans have called for increasing border security by building more walls along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal entries, while far-left Democrats such as O'Rourke have called for existing walls to be torn down.

One last thing…
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