Their death pose was captured in a haunting photo: A 2-year-old girl tucked inside her father’s arm, both of them washed ashore on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, drowned after a failed attempt to jump the border.
The image splashed across front pages a year ago this week, including The Washington Times and The New York Times, and dominated the airwaves. NBC labeled the father and daughter the “new faces of the border crisis.” CBS called the photos “a haunting image of desperation” as it devoted 42 seconds to panning across the photos in its June 26 newscast. ABC showed the photos for 34 seconds.
A day later, the Border Patrol released another image: agents patrolling another section of the Rio Grande and spotting a drowning 13-year-old Honduran boy. They swooped in on their boat, pulled the teen out of the water and performed CPR on the deck to save his life.
That rescue was caught in a dramatic video — with just seconds of coverage on CBS and NBC and no time at all on ABC, according to Newsbusters, a media watchdog.
Such is the grim math of the border.
The Honduran boy is one of 4,900 people last year whom Customs and Border Protection agents and officers rescued. They dove into roiling waters, saved migrants abandoned in the desert by smugglers, and treated catastrophic injuries of some who fell off the border wall.
Few of those rescues drew any headlines.
Among the 4,900 rescued were a paraplegic and a double amputee. Smugglers brought them to the Rio Grande in late May 2019, tossed them into the water and left them to drown. Agents leapt into the water to pull both men to safety.