Like many Salvadoran migrants before them, Marvin Gonzalez and his eight-year-old daughter Joselyn set off from their farm surrounded by corn and sugarcane one morning in early July with dreams of better lives in the United States. The two made it across the U.S. border in late July. Then their luck turned.
After they were detained in El Paso, Gonzalez died from heart-related causes that seemed to have flared up suddenly.
Gonzalez’s father, Victor, 73, said he warned his son that the journey was too dangerous, recalling the harrowing photo of a father and young daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Bravo that was widely shared on social media.
Norma Palacios, 23, the wife of the younger Gonzalez, said she had planned to eventually join her husband in the United States, bringing along their daughter Tifany. But their American dream has now become a nightmare.
A number of Central American migrants have also died in border patrol custody in recent months, including young children. El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele called on Salvadorans to not put their lives at risk in attempts to reach the United States.
He has estimated that about 300 migrants leave El Salvador every day, even as U.S. President Donald Trump pressures Central America and Mexico to curb migration flows.
Salvadorans making the trek to the U.S. say they have no choice but to emigrate so as to escape poverty and violence.
(Production: Wilfredo Pineda, Rodolfo Pena Roja)