The video of Oscar Martinez and his two- year-old daughter, who died swimming the Rio Grande River, is heartrending. No father and daughter should die this way. “It is tough to look at,” a CBS journalist says of the image.
She is right—the picture is hard to look at. It is also hard and infuriating to see the way the left has seized upon this unfortunate family to make points that, on cool examination, are completely illogical. Vox writes:
This is the photo that encapsulates the cruelty of the Trump era: a father and daughter lying dead on the banks of the Rio Grande river, her tiny arm draped around his neck, drowned after an attempt to cross onto American soil and seek asylum.
I don’t like having to look at it, but it’s important: It is the true face of the Trump administration’s approach to immigration, the physical embodiment of the nativism that animates it.
How on earth is this indicative of Trump’s supposed cruelty?
Oscar Martinez and his daughter were swimming towards the supposed concentration camps of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s fervid imagination.
Whatever the left thinks about the U.S. during the Trump presidency, Oscar seems to have held it in high regard. Martinez wasn’t fleeing Trump’s alleged cruelty. He was frantically swimming right towards it!
What could the cruel Trump and his minions have done to prevent the drowning? The only way the safety of Oscar and little Valeria could have been guaranteed is for us not to have borders, which, after all, is what many who are exploiting their tragedy want.
There is a sly implication that if migrant camps were nicer, Oscar and Valeria might have remained in one until they could enter more safely—illegally but safely. Vox again:
They were being held in a migrant camp on the Mexican side of the border, a camp that didn’t have enough food while temperatures soared to more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
We should do our best to see that there are humane conditions in centers where migrants are held—but the real problem is that they are coming in such numbers, drawn by gaping loopholes in our immigration policy and the false belief that almost anybody can obtain asylum.
There is even an implication that Trump is responsible for the 110 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures!
It is beyond sad that Oscar and Valeria died the way they did.
But their deaths happened not because of Donald Trump but because of our immigration policy. If we had a better immigration system, Oscar and Valeria might still have been alive, and preparing to make a case for legal entry into the U.S. We just don’t know.
As long as our border is porous, there will be families who are willing to risk everything to get here.
Oscar Martinez probably would not have qualified for asylum—but he knew that, if he reached the U.S. and was taken into custody, he could have gotten lost in the U.S., living in the shadows but nevertheless raising his family in a safer place.
Oscar Martinez is a victim of our current immigration policy, not of Donald Trump.
Just remember: Oscar and Valeria were swimming towards the United States. They apparently saw it is a beacon of hope. May God bless them.