Pope Francis Saddened By a Picture of Drowned Migrant Father and Daughter

Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martinez and his 23-month old daughter drowned trying to cross the US-Mexico border

An image of a migrant father and child who drowned in an attempt to cross the Rio Grande into the U.S. has been making the rounds. When Pope Francis saw the image, he expressed his immense sadness about the situation.

Alessandro Gissoti, Holy See Press Office interim director, said on June 26 that the father and child’s deaths profoundly sadden the Pope. He went on to say that the Pope is praying for them as well as for all other migrants who have lost their lives while running away from war and misery.

After the bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martinez and his 23-month old daughter, Valeria, were discovered on the riverbank on June 24, images of them were circulated around the world.

Valeria and her father Martinez died while trying to swim across the Rio Grande along the U.S.-Mexico border. This happened after they couldn’t make a request for asylum in the U.S. from El Salvador to U.S. authorities.

The U.S. border patrol has said that as many as 283 migrants have died when attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in the previous year. On June 22, President Donald Trump said that he would delay immigration raids a couple of weeks so that Congress could modify U.S. asylum laws.

On June 4 a bill was passed by the House of Representatives which outlined a citizenship path for people who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children. The bill was also passed for qualified holders of Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure.

The bill, titled the American Dream and Promise Act 2019, aims to grant childhood arrivals who qualify ten years of legal residency. When their ten years are up, they can pursue permanent legal residence if they complete two years of military service or higher education, or three years of employment.

People with DED or TPS will be allowed to apply for legal permanent residence if they have passed background checks and have been in the U.S. for at least three years. People who have lived in the U.S. legally for five years may then apply for citizenship.

Bishops have made it a point to stress their respect for the deceased due to every person being created in the image of God regardless of their country of origin or legal status.

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