Melania Trump Travels To Arizona To Visit Migrant Detention Facilities

Jun 28, 2018
Originally published on June 28, 2018 6:28 pm

Updated at 7:28 p.m. ET

First lady Melania Trump paid a second visit Thursday to children detained under her husband's "zero tolerance" policy for illegal southern border crossings.

She traveled to Tucson, Ariz., where she visited a Customs and Border Protection facility and participated in a roundtable discussion with Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service and a local rancher. After the roundtable, the first lady toured an adjacent short-term detention facility.

Mrs. Trump also visited a separate private facility housing detained children and teens that is run by Southwest Key, an organization that receives grant money from the Department of Health and Human Services.

During the roundtable discussion at the government facility the first lady asked officials how often they see children crossing the southern border alone, not accompanied by an adult. She was told 1,100 unaccompanied children had entered Arizona's ports of entry since October 2017.

At the Southwest Key facility, the first lady held another roundtable discussion with the organization's employees. She also toured the facility and met some of the children and teens there.

The trip follows a visit last week to the border town of McAllen, Texas, to a shelter for children separated from their parents.

"She wanted to see everything for herself," her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said at the time. "She supports family reunification. She thinks that it's important that children stay with their families."

Grisham confirmed on Tuesday that a second trip was being planned, but details were kept under wraps.

During the trip to McAllen, the first lady's choice of a jacket emblazoned with the words, "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?" prompted controversy and speculation about its meaning. Her spokeswoman said it was simply "a jacket" with "no hidden message."

She did not wear the jacket Thursday.

The initial trip took place the day after President Trump signed an executive order aimed at ending family separations. A White House official told NPR that Melania Trump pressed her husband to stop separating children from their parents.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in San Diego ordered the administration to stop separating parents and children and said that all immigrant children detained under the Trump administration policy must be returned to their parents within 30 days.

Since the ruling, Grisham said Thursday, the first lady is "anxious to learn how they're implementing the new process. There was a court case that threw a wrench in the works."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.