First Lady Melania Trump made an unannounced trip to the border on Thursday, visiting a children’s shelter in McAllen.
“She supports family reunification,” said Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, according to a pool report from the Dallas Morning News. “She thinks that it’s important that children stay with their families.”
Trump toured the Upbring shelter, a facility currently housing about 60 children between the ages of 5 and 17, officials said, according to the pool report. Six of those children had been separated from their parents — the rest had arrived unaccompanied, the officials said. Trump held a roundtable discussion livestreamed by the Washington Post with shelter workers before the tour, thanking them for their “heroic work” taking care of the children and asking how she could help.
The first lady also planned to tour the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center, but the visit was delayed because of flooding at the center.
As of Wednesday, more than 2,300 immigrant children had been separated from their parents who crossed the border illegally. Changing course on his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday afternoon halting separations.
The first lady began planning her trip on Tuesday, Grisham told reporters. Grisham said she was not sure whether the first lady had been aware of the president’s upcoming executive order.
“This was her decision,” Grisham said. “She told [the president,] ‘I’m headed down to Texas,’ and he supported it.”
Disclosure: Upbring has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
Read related Tribune coverage:
- Border Patrol will stop referring migrant parents who cross into the U.S. illegally with children for prosecution, official says
- For families who have already been separated, policy change doesn’t guarantee reunification
- What’s happening at the border? Here’s what we know about immigrant children being separated from their families
Author: NATALIA ALAMDARI – The Texas Tribune