First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise, unscheduled visit to McAllen, Texas, Thursday morning to view border facilities, to meet with detained families, and to learn how she could help get children reunited with their parents faster.
The First Lady gave a brief speech after touching down, expressing her desire to learn about the detainment process, and “ask you how I can help these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible.”
First Lady Melania Trump: “I’m here to learn about your facility, in which I know you house children on a long term basis. And I’d also like to ask you how I can help these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible.” pic.twitter.com/LgLddG3NJE
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) June 21, 2018
She received a tour of the children’s rooms, and spoke with the facility’s administrators about how they help ensure the children’s physical and emotional well-being.
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) June 21, 2018
Melania Trump: When the children come here, what kind of state, physical and mental state, do they come here in?
“Usually when they get here, they are very distraught, in the sense that they don’t know where they’re at…The first 24 hours are crucial for us,” staff member says pic.twitter.com/bOm0VsyY6s
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 21, 2018
The First Lady’s spokesperson talked to media ahead of the trip, which was described as “hastily planned.”
“She wants to see what’s real,” Stephanie Grisham told CNN. “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.”
According to reports, the First Lady told her staff just 48 hours ago that she wanted to take a tour of detainment facilities used to hold immigrant children who were separated from their asylum-seeking parents under a Trump Administration policy that fully enforced asylum protocol — a policy her husband brought to a swift end yesterday with an executive order allowing families to stay together while they wait for an asylum hearing.
The First Lady was reportedly instrumental in pushing her husband to end the policy, as was the president’s daughter and close adviser, Ivanka Trump.