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US president Donald Trump said that he hated the traumatic photograph of the migrant father and his daughter who drowned during an attempt to enter the United States across the Mexican border.

“I hate it,” Trump said of the photo of the Salvadoran man and the two-year-old girl in the Rio Grande river. “That father… was probably a wonderful guy,” he added.

The picture of Oscar Alberto Martinez, 25, and his 24-month-old daughter Angie Valeria had stirred political debate in the US, with both people, media and political parties questioning the immigration policies of Trump.

Beto O’Rourke said, “Trump is responsible for these deaths.” Writing on Twitter, the former Texas congressman added, “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.”

“Trump’s policy of making it harder and harder to seek asylum – and separating families who do – is cruel, inhumane and leads to tragedies like this,” US Presidential Candidate  Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter.

US border patrol agents have apprehended 664,000 people along the southern border so far this year, a 144 per cent increase from last year, said Brian Hastings, chief of law enforcement operations for the US Border Patrol. “The system is overwhelmed,” he said.

“This is very sad, but it’s really necessary,” said Rafael Larraenza, founder and director of San Diego, California-based volunteer group Angeles del Desierto (The Desert Angels), which carries out search and rescue operations for missing migrants.

“This happens every day along the border from California to Texas, at least one or two people a day,” Larraenza said.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Martinez and his daughter had lost their lives because they could not get the protection they were entitled to under international law.

“The deaths of Oscar and Valeria represent a failure to address the violence and desperation pushing people to take journeys of danger for the prospect of a life in safety and dignity,” he said in the statement.

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