The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas.
The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas.

The Salvadoran migrant and his toddler daughter who drowned in a desperate effort to cross into the United States were buried Monday in San Salvador.

The photograph of Oscar Martinez and 23 month-old Valeria lying face down in the Rio Grande brought tears and outrage over the hopeless poverty at home and the danger they faced trying to escape it.

More than 200 friends and relatives attended their funeral. Martinez was remembered for his love of soccer and Valeria for being a cheerful child who adored her stuffed animals.

Police say their graves are in a section of the La Bermeja cemetery named for Saint Oscar Romero -- the Salvadoran priest dedicated to helping the poor and who was assassinated in 1980.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said Martinez and his family felt they had no choice but to flee.

"What if there's a little girl who had a decent school here, a decent health care system for her and her family, a decent house with water supply, a decent job for her parents...living in a zone where a gang member would not come to rape her and kill her family?"

He also said life in the U.S. may not be desirable either "not only because of President Trump's policies, but just because of the fact that you are a third-class citizen. And even if you cross, then you will not have papers, you will be called an illegal."

Flowers are seen where Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his daughter Valeria, migrants who drowned in Rio Grande river during their journey to the U.S., where buried at La Bermeja cemetery in San Salvador, El Salvador, July 1, 2019.

Martinez, Valeria, and her mother Tania Avalos had reportedly run out of patience at the long wait and huge backlog for asylum requests at the U.S. - Mexican border and tried to enter the U.S. by crossing the Rio Grande between the U.S. and Texas.

Tania Avalos made it across the swift-moving waters, but Oscar and Valeria were swept away. Their bodies were found along the riverbank, face down in the water with Oscar's arm still around his daughter.

Critics blame the tragedy in part on Trump administration policies that have kept migrants from crossing the border to ask for asylum and forcing them to wait in Mexico.

The administration threatened Mexico with tariffs if it did not enforce immigration controls ts northern and southern borders.

Child Marriage