On Tuesday, June 25, a photo of a migrant father and his 23-month-old daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande River to reach the United States started appearing online – and by Wednesday the border photo was headline news on every channel, every newspaper, every talk radio program – and in the Democratic presidential debates.
Sadly, the story behind the border photo is becoming all too familiar to immigration rights activists. In fact, 7 others lost their life the same day but their names are scarcely reported, there is no visual evidence of their tragedy. Despite Homeland Securities own internal reports of appalling conditions at Texas detention centers, little has been done in the way of change.
Reporter Julia Le Duc took the photograph of Valeria and Oscar Alberto Ramirez, who died as the little girl’s mother Tania watched while waiting her turn to cross into America. Her border photo has turned the migrant debate into action:
• More reporters on both sides of the border are gathering photographic evidence of the human suffering at the border.
• Politicians are scheduling visits to US migrant detention centers to witness the conditions that are being described.
• Physicians, lawyers and activists are demanding they be allowed to enter and document the humanitarian crisis.
• Border Chief John Sanders has resigned.
As immigration lawyers and immigration rights activists, at Godoy Law we are devastated by the conditions these migrants are forced to endure but heartened that the American people are demanding an end to this abuse by the Trump administration:
• Bank of America is refusing to lend any more money to detention centers or for-profit prisons
• Employees at Wayfair staged a walkout in protest against furniture sales to detention centers
• Private citizens are gathering the basics to donate to child detainees – soaps, toothbrushes, diapers, toys (although many detention centers are refusing public donations)
• Celebrity activists are donating and bringing attention to immigrants’ rights
United States immigration laws can be extraordinarily complicated. The attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office fight for the rights of immigrants in Illinois and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 855-554-6369.