Beto Blames President for the Deaths of Salvadoran Father and His Toddler Daughter in the Rio Grande
Emily Goodin, Daily Mail, June 26, 2019
Beto O’Rourke blamed Donald Trump for the deaths of a father and daughter who were found drowned earlier this week along a bank of the Rio Grande River.
‘Trump is responsible for these deaths,’ he wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening, sharing an AP story about the drowning.
His charge comes ahead of the first Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday night, where O’Rourke will share the stage with nine other contenders.
Democrats have expressed outrage over the president’s immigration policies since the searing photo went viral.
As his administration refuses to follow our laws – preventing refugees from presenting themselves for asylum at our ports of entry – they cause families to cross between ports, ensuring greater suffering & death. At the expense of our humanity, not to the benefit of our safety,’ O’Rourke wrote.
Immigration was expected to be a topic of the night but the photo, of the 25-year-old Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, a Salvadoran man, with his black t-shirt hiked up and his 23-month daughter next to him with her arm wrapped around his neck, guarantees Democrats will be fired up on the issue.
Accompanying the riveting photo were images of the 21-year-old wife of Martinez, who watched the events unfold as her husband and child attempted to cross the border illegally by swimming across the river in Brownsville, Texas.
O’Rourke was already scheduled to travel to Homestead, Fla., on Thursday to meet with activists who are leading the opposition to the Child Migration Detention Center where thousands of teenagers refugees are being held.
Elizabeth Warren visited the center Wednesday morning ahead of the debate to talk to protesters who are demanding it be shut down.
‘We are better people than this,’ she said.
The Massachusetts senator stood on a ladder to wave to children who could be seen playing behind the shelter’s fence.
‘A government that can’t tell the difference between a threat posed by a terrorist, a criminal, and a little girl, is not a government that is keeping us safe,’ Warren told a town hall meeting in Miami Tuesday night.
Amy Klobuchar announced she would visit the center Wednesday afternoon ahead of the debate.
Warren and O’Rourke were not the only two Democratic presidential contenders to put the blame on Trump.
Cory Booker also blamed the president.
‘We should not look away,’ Booker tweeted Tuesday night. ‘These are the consequences of Donald Trump’s inhumane and immoral immigration policy. This is being done in our name.’
Warren, Booker, O’Rourke and Klobuchar will be on stage together Wednesday night in Miami with six other contenders.
The two-night primary debates, hosted by NBC News on Wednesday and Thursday, will feature 10 Democratic candidates each night, randomly selected for which stage they will appear.
The Homestead center – where nearly 2,500 kids of migrants can be held without their parents and is the largest detention center for children in the country – is about 30 minutes south of the debate stage.
Eric Swalwell also visited the center on Monday and met with protesters outside the facility.
‘We are looking into a camp, a camp of children cruelly confined here,’ he said when documenting the experience on his social media. ‘They don’t belong here. They belong with their families.’
Children between the age of 13-17 are at the shelter, which opened during the Obama administration, closed briefly and was reopened in March 2018 amid a surge in migrants crossing the border.
Border Patrol reported in January that more than 5,000 “unaccompanied alien children” have been apprehended at the border. Most are sent to the Homestead Shelter for Unaccompanied Children or similar facilities throughout the country.
The shelter has stopped letting journalists and visitors inside its doors. Protesters are a regular presence outside its gates, demanding it be shut down.
Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who represents the area, invited 2020 primary contenders to tour the shelter.
Mucarsel-Powell, a Democrat, has previously been denied entry to the facility, but said she would accompany any candidates that want to take a look around.
Critics call it an imprisonment camp or an internment camp.
HHS officials said the average stay is 36 days.
But court filings – based on a tour of the shelter attorneys conducted in March – paint a different picture.
It describes ‘prison-like’ rules where children can only talk to relatives on the phone for 10 minutes twice a week; showers are limited to five; meal time are 15 minutes. Children are not allowed to hug or touch one another.
The president told NBC News last week that the shelter was set up by former President Barack Obama.
And he blamed Democrats for situation.
‘If the Democrats would change the asylum laws and the loopholes, which they refuse to do because they think it’s good politics, everything would be solved immediately,’ Trump said.
‘But they refuse to do it. They refuse to do it. You know what? If they change those, I say, I used to say 45 minutes. It’s 15 minutes. If they changed asylum and if they changed loopholes everything on the border would be perfect.’