Melania Trump in Arizona for immigration roundtable, visit to holding facility
First lady Melania Trump arrived in Tucson, Ariz., on Thursday for her second visit to an immigrant holding facility in a week.
Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, previously said that Trump would pay a visit to another holding facility sometime this week, but did not disclose a date or location for the trip.
In Tucson, the first lady visited a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility, where she participated in a roundtable discussion with Border Patrol officials, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service and a local rancher, according to a press pool report.
She is then expected to tour the Tucson Coordinating Center, a short-term holding facility for migrants, before touring an intelligence center, the dispatch said.
Last week, Trump made a surprise visit to a facility in McAllen, Texas, where migrant children who had been separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy were being held.
Grisham told reporters on Thursday that the trip to Tucson was planned days after Trump returned from Texas, and that it presented the first lady with an opportunity to meet with some of the officials charged with carrying out the Trump administration’s policies.
“She wasn’t able to visit a [Department of Homeland Security] facility, and she wants to learn from the people on the front lines at the border,” Grisham told reporters.
Thousands of migrant children have been separated from their families in recent months, as the Trump administration sought to enforce its policy calling for the prosecution of all immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
Those family separations sparked public outrage in the U.S., which prompted Trump last week to sign an executive order allowing children to be detained alongside their parents or guardians.
But exactly how that order will be carried out remains murky. Migrant children are not allowed to be detained for more than 20 days at a time — a limit that does not apply to adults. A federal judge in San Diego has ordered the government to act quickly to reunite children with their families.
Grisham told reporters on Thursday that the first lady is “anxious to learn how they’re implementing the new process,” adding that the court case “threw a wrench in the works.”
“She’s learning that these people at [Health and Human Services] facilities are providing some outstanding care under difficult circumstances,” Grisham said. “She’s advocating for quality care for these children under difficult circumstances.”
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