The family lived with Mr Ramirez’s mother, Rosa, in Altavista, sprawling complex of small, concrete houses east of San Salvador.
The area is under the control of gangs, but in an interview with the New York Times, Ms Ramirez said it was economic hardship of living on just $10 (£7) per day, rather than violence, which pushed her son and his family to flee El Salvador.
Nevertheless, Mr Ramirez managed to obtain a political asylum visa from the Mexican government during the long journey to the Mexican border, which would have strengthened his family’s case when they presented themselves to the US authorities.
Instead, the family was left in limbo for weeks, sweltering in temperatures of up to 45 degrees with little food, which according to local newspaper La Jornada left them in a state of “despair.”
On Sunday, Mr Ramirez and his wife decided they had had enough; they would abandon the asylum process and attempt an illegal crossing into the United States by swimming the Rio Grande river.
At 1.38pm, Mr Ramirez logged into Facebook and informed his sister of the plan.