First lady spokeswoman: Melania Trump 'hates to see' families separated at border

First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration Trump dismisses Ann Coulter after criticism: 'I hardly know her' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight MORE appeared to express disapproval on Sunday with her husband's administration's policy of separating migrant families who cross the U.S.–Mexico border illegally.

"Mrs. Trump 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 believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart," Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's communications director, said in a statement to The Hill.

Grisham's statement was first given to CNN reporter Kate Bennett.

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The debate surrounding immigration policy has intensified in recent weeks since the Trump administration announced its "zero tolerance" policy for illegal border crossings. 

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war McCabe book: Sessions once said FBI was better off when it 'only hired Irishmen' MORE enacted the policy earlier this year, announcing that the Department of Justice would criminally prosecute all adults attempting to cross illegally into the U.S. by the southern border.

As a result, families who crossed together illegally would in some cases be separated, he said.

The practice has prompted sweeping outcry from Democrats and immigration advocates, who argue it is cruel and traumatizing for children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and medical experts this week spoke out against the Trump administration policy, warning that it will cause “irreplaceable harm” to the children separated from their families.

The president, Sessions and other administration officials have repeatedly defended the policy, arguing that it acts as a deterrent against illegal immigration. The president has falsely claimed Democrats are responsible for the policy, and said they should agree to negotiate stricter immigration laws.

Senate Democrats last week introduced legislation that would ban separating families at the border.

While Democrats and Republicans have spoken out against the practice, the White House has indicated it does not intend to end the policy unilaterally.

“As a mother, as a Catholic, as somebody who’s got a conscience … I will tell you that nobody likes this policy,” White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayWhite House seeks to clarify Trump remarks on emergency Trump says he 'didn't need to' declare emergency but wanted 'faster' action Trump dismisses Ann Coulter after criticism: 'I hardly know her' MORE said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press."

“Congress passed the law that it is a crime to enter this country illegally," she added. "So if they don’t like that law, they should change it."