First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to two detention centers where immigrant children are being held apart from their families, the day after the Trump administration announced that it would end the controversial practice, CNN is reporting.
After landing in McAllen, Texas, Mrs. Trump traveled to Upbring New Hope Children’s Center, according to KUSA-TV (Denver). There, she saw with her own eyes the issue that has been dominating the national conversation for weeks.
According to spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, it was important for the First Lady to put a human face on the controversy.
“She wants to see what’s real. 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.”
For weeks, the issue of immigrant children being separated from their families, under the Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance policy, has been an intense controversy, with some calling it a humanitarian crisis and even equating it to Nazi Germany.
The Trump administration has been seen as less than sympathetic to the plight of the families. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, for example, brushed off comparisons to Nazi Germany by saying that the situation is different because in Nazi Germany, “they would keep the Jews from leaving the country.” Similarly, as reported by the Inquisitr, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, when told about a 10-year-old girl with Down Syndrome being separated from her family, made a sound effect that indicates derision.
.@Zac_Petkanas says on Fox News a 10-year-old girl with Down Syndrome was separated from her mother at the border.
Corey Lewandowski responds: "Womp womp." pic.twitter.com/cZMXWmwbjw
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) June 19, 2018
Similarly, all five living First Ladies, including Melania Trump herself, condemned the practice in one way or another. Melania, for her part, said she “hates to see” families separated from each other.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) June 21, 2018
On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order aimed at ending the practice.
CNN writer Kate Bennett suggested Wednesday that it was Melania who convinced Donald Trump to end the practice.
“Melania Trump has had several private conversations with her husband, [an anonymous White House] official said, pushing the President to do all he can stop children from being taken from their parents upon illegal entry into this country. The first lady encouraged a swift legislative solution, yet she also advocated for the President to act alone to sign an executive order to immediately halt the division of families.”
Trump himself appeared to suggest that Melania’s intervention prompted his change of heart, saying that Melania “feels very strongly about it.”
It is not clear, as of this writing, when the estimated 2,300 children currently separated from their parents will be reunited with them.