Immigration battle

Melania Trump makes unannounced visit to border detention center

A day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order stopping U.S. immigration officials from separating parents and children who illegally cross the southern border, first lady Melania Trump paid an unannounced visit to McAllen, Texas, where she toured a border patrol processing center. The Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy, in which it has been pursuing federal charges against adults illegally crossing the border, has cause widespread outrage from the media and politicians. She also created a stir with a jacket she was seen wearing when boarding a plane that carried her down to Texas. The words “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” were written across the back of the green jacket in white lettering, a wardrobe choice that was seen as offensive by many even though she was not wearing the jacket upon arriving in McAllen.

“I want to thank you for your hard work, your compassion and your kindness,” Trump told doctors and social workers at the center while taking part in a question-and-answer session prior to being given a tour of the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South, which has been contracted by the Department of Health and Human Services. According to BuzzFeed News, the facility opened in 2014, is licensed to care for children as young as 5 and currently is home to 55 children, all between the ages of 12 and 17.

Staff members told the first lady that children, who arrive distraught, are monitored extensively for physical and mental health issues, The Associated Press reported. “We just have a tremendous passion for working with these children,” program director Roy De La Cerda told the first lady. “We see them as our own.”

The first lady was reportedly influential in forcing her husband’s hand as outrage surrounding the family separations mounted. On Sunday, she released a diplomatic-sounding statement in which she said she “hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform.” She called for laws to be followed, but also said the U.S. needs to be “a country that governs with heart.” Following her remarks on the issue, all four living former first ladies spoke out denouncing the administration’s zero tolerance policy and the separation of migrant families.

As for what prompted the first lady’s trip to the border on Thursday, “She wants to see what’s real,” Stephanie Grisham, her spokesperson, told CNN during a press briefing on the way to Texas. “She wanted to see as close to what she had been seeing on TV. She wants to see a realistic view of what’s happening.” The visit to Texas was pulled together within the last 48 hours amid a swirl of controversy that erupted not only in the U.S. but abroad.

Below watch a pair video clips of the first lady talking about reuniting families separated from children in one, and asking a worker at the processing center what condition the children who are brought across the border are in when they arrive in the U.S. in another.

Read the full story at CNN.


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