Death at the US Border

Many people in the US were horrified by the picture of Oscar and his 2-year-old daughter who drowned while trying to enter the United States. Andres Mejer, immigration attorney, talks about this family. He explains what led up to this tragic situation. He talks about what is happening at the border. There are so many people there and the process is moving very slowly, Andres discusses that and how long people are waiting. He talks about what to do if you see social media posts about where ICE is. He recommends that you review his video about what to do if ICE stops you – we’ll put a link in the comments to that video. He also talks to those who are US citizens and what they can do to help at this time to stop other families from dying.

Transcript (Transcripción):

Andres Mejer: Welcome to the English segment of our weekly radio show. Para Ser Legal to be legal. Today we got three subjects for you. 

Andres Mejer: Oscar and Valeria why did they die. How did they drown? Why would somebody you wanted to enter legally into the United States? How is it that they died. Secondly Supreme Court they’re going to hear the DACA case. What does that mean for you? What is DACA?. How did we get to where we are today. The DACA is now before the Supreme Court and three, what can you do today. If you have DACA to protect yourself in case DACA gets eliminated there are five options and we’ll talk about each one of them on this program. I’m Andres Mejer speaker author and immigration attorney. And thank you for joining us on this weekly program. 

Andres Mejer: Para Ser Legal…To Be Legal

Andres Mejer: Number one Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez from El Salvador and his daughter Valeria drowned in the Rio Grande last week for anybody that has seen the pictures they. 

Andres Mejer: Well very moving very tragic. It’s a picture of Valeria who’s 2 years old. 

Andres Mejer: They’re both facedown in the water. 

Andres Mejer: Both Oscar and Valeria and Valeria has her left arm around his shoulder and his head. 

Andres Mejer: It was clear that even in her last moments she was hugging her father. Anybody well anybody who’s a father can relate to something like that. My daughter just turned 13. I can’t. She had to be a strong swimmer. But she’s 13, not 2. So what happened. Oscar and his wife and their daughter wife Tanya Vanessa Avalos left El Salvador on April 3rd. 

Andres Mejer: They spent two months at a shelter in Tapachula near the Mexico border with Guatemala waiting to apply for asylum. Two months waiting just to apply. You got frustrated couldn’t wait anymore. 

Andres Mejer: I don’t know what the reason was but they’re only interviewing 40 to 45 people a week in that area. And there was still a list of over 800 people in front of him. That means easily another 10 weeks or more. Can you imagine sitting there in a shelter for six months just to be able to apply for asylum? Six months and then you have to wait until you can see the judge and have your trial. I mean it’s absurd. And that’s what’s going on. No one’s talking about that. So he got frustrated. He took his family said we’re going across the Rio Grande. And he did it. So him and he took first his daughter Valeria swam across his daughters 2 years old left her on the other side and then he went back to get his wife Tanya. And as he’s crossing his 2-year-old daughter for whatever reason didn’t want to wait jumped into the water to be with dad. She couldn’t swim. Dad turns around Oscar goes to get Valeria gets her and then gets swept down the current. And he was never he was not able to get out. They were found 10 20 kilometers further down. Both drowned and both dead. 

Andres Mejer: And like I said the picture is tragic but it talks about the frustration and desperation that people are feeling. 

Andres Mejer: Two months in a shelter with hundreds of other people. Your children your spouse not knowing when or how you’ll ever be able to present your case. So for only 40 45 interviews a week I mean, to be honest, that could be done in two days but only a week in this area a waiting list of over 800 and a president who is trying to prevent anybody from even applying for asylum. But now here’s what you can do. Very important. You’re going to see posts on social media that ICE is here ICE is there verify that it’s accurate. A lot of people are posting a lot of things to cause fear. Make sure before you read a tweet or you share that its accurate information. Second watch. No, you’re right. Video to learn what to do in an encounter with ice or police. Last week we made a video about that. It’s not the first time that we talked about it. You can go to our YouTube channel or on our Web site or on Facebook and you can find our video. Write to your Congress. Or senator or call. Go to their office. Hold them accountable for a more humane border policy and immigration reform. Speak up. Go to rallies protest to end detention camps in horrible conditions in which kids in families are being kept. It really is sad that America is treating refugees in this way in 2019. I am ashamed to call myself an American. This is not the country that I love. This is not the country that I naturalized and joined and promised to defend. It’s a sad day for all of us.