The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a $4.5 billion aid package to address the migrant surge along the US-Mexico border, including new standards for migrants in custody following reports of poor conditions facing young children at overcrowded facilities.
The Democratic-led House voted 230-195, mostly along party lines, to pass the measure, but its future is uncertain. The Republican-run Senate is working on its own version of the bill, and Republican President Donald Trump has vowed to veto the House legislation, with White House officials saying it would hamstring the administration’s border enforcement efforts.
Trump on May 1 requested the aid for programs that house, feed, transport and oversee record numbers of Central American families seeking asylum in the United States and straining capacity at migrant shelters in border cities, reported Reuters.
Amid the ensuing outcry, the acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, John Sanders, said on Tuesday he was resigning. Meanwhile, shocking images of a drowned Salvadoran migrant and his two-year-old daughter who died while trying to cross the Rio Grande river from Mexico to the United States have sparked outrage, underscoring the dangers faced by asylum-seekers.
Twenty-five-year-old Oscar Martinez Ramirez fled El Salvador with his 21-year-old wife and their daughter and decided to make the risky crossing from Mexico to the US on Sunday afternoon, according to a Mexican court report seen by AFP.
Ramirez carried the little girl on his back, stowing her inside his t-shirt to keep her safe as they attempted to cross the river. But the pair were swept away by violent currents, drowning before her mother’s eyes, who survived the ordeal and arrived on shore.
The two bodies were found Monday in Matamoros in Tamaulipas state.