Melania Trump, whose pressure was a factor in getting her husband, U.S. President Donald Trump, to reverse his policy of separating immigrant children from parents, on Thursday visited a border detention facility where some of those children were being held.
The first lady left the White House quietly in the morning and flew to Texas for the visit, a day after Trump signed an executive order keeping families who illegally cross the U.S. border with Mexico together.
“Ivanka feels very strongly, my wife feels very strongly about it, I feel very strongly about it. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it. We don’t like to see families separated,” Trump said on Wednesday, referring to his daughter Ivanka.
The trip to Texas was the most high-profile public appearance Mrs. Trump had made since undergoing a surgical procedure for a benign kidney condition on May 14. The procedure prompted her to drop largely out of sight for several days.
The first lady met with officials and employees at the facility where 55 children ages 12 to 17 are housed. Six of them were separated from their parents upon crossing the border, authorities told reporters.
Mrs. Trump sat at a table at Upbring New Hope Children’s Center and heard caregivers explain how the children are well treated. She asked many questions, seeking assurances that they are being properly cared for.
Later, she toured a section of the facility where the children have bedrooms and was told they maintain their own rooms.
“I’m glad I’m here and I’m looking forward to seeing and meeting children, but first of all let me begin to recognize each of you and thanking you for all that you do, for your heroic work that you do every day and what you do for those children,” Melania Trump said.
“I’d also like to ask you how I can help these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible,” she said.