The Latest: First lady calls for immigration legislation
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Melania Trump’s visit to a Texas facility housing migrant children (all times local):
Melania Trump says her visit with migrant children has “impacted me greatly.”
The first lady commented in a written statement Thursday after she returned from touring the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center in McAllen, Texas. The facility is home to about 55 migrant teenagers. A fraction of them were separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration into the U.S. from Mexico.
Mrs. Trump says time spent with the children reinforces the fact that they’re in the situation “as a direct result of adult actions.”
She is calling on Congress to pass immigration legislation that secures the borders and keeps families together. The House on Thursday defeated a conservative immigration measure and delayed until next week a final vote on a compromise immigration bill.
President Donald Trump says his wife, Melania, was taking a dig at the news media Thursday when she wore a jacket that read, “I really don’t care, do u?” as she traveled to and from a facility housing migrant children separated from their parents.
The jacked caused a commotion on social media, which Trump responded to by tweet.
He says the slogan “written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media,” adding, “Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!”
Asked earlier what message the first lady was trying to send, Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said: “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.”
Grisham underscored that message in a tweet with the hashtags #SheCares and #ItsJustAJacket.
First lady Melania Trump boarded a flight to a facility housing migrant children separated from their parents wearing a jacket that read “I really don’t care, do u?”
The green hooded spring military jacket has the words written graffiti-style on the back.
When asked what message the first lady’s jacket intended to send, spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said: “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.”
Mrs. Trump wore a different pale yellow jacket when the plane landed in McAllen, Texas, for a visit to the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center, which houses 55 migrant children.
The youthful jacket sharply contrasts with the first lady’s typically bold, foreign-flavored wardrobe. In public appearances, the first lady has worn designs by Dolce & Gabbana, Del Pozo, Christian Dior, Emilio Pucci, Givenchy and Valentino, often with daringly high Christian Louboutin heels.
Third-graders at a facility housing migrant children separated from their parents welcomed first lady Melania Trump with a large paper American flag they’d signed.
The students are among 58 at the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center, where Mrs. Trump made a surprise visit Thursday. The first lady’s visit came the morning after President Donald Trump signed an executive order halting the practice of separating families that entered the U.S. illegally.
Visiting another classroom, Mrs. Trump asked children where they were from and how long they’d been at the center where staff said children typically spend between 42 and 45 days. She told children to “be kind and nice to each other” as she left another classroom.
The first lady said she wanted to lend her support to the children, and asked staff to reunite them with their families as quickly as possible.
Melania Trump was welcomed by staff at the Upbring New Hope Children’s Center as she made an unannounced visit Thursday to the facility that houses 58 unaccompanied migrant children.
The first lady met with the facility’s executive director, a case manager, a medical care coordinator and others as she began a tour of the facility. She was told the children there, most of whom are between the ages of 12 and 17, are usually “distraught” when they first enter. Their physical and mental states are immediately assessed, and they are given orientation.
Program Director Roy De La Cerda told the first lady that the mostly Guatemalan children typically stay at the center for an average of 42 to 45 days. He says staff have “a tremendous passion for working with these children” and the center is “their home.”
Melania Trump is visiting two Texas facilities housing some of the more than 2,300 migrant children sent by the U.S. government after their families entered the country illegally.
The first lady’s visit to Upbring New Hope Children’s Center on Thursday comes after President Donald Trump signed an executive order halting the practice of separating families. However, his policy of criminally prosecuting illegal border-crossers remains.
Mrs. Trump, whose focus is on children, may have helped encourage her husband to act.
The first lady said earlier through her spokeswoman that she “hates” to see families separated at the border. A White House official followed up Wednesday, saying Mrs. Trump had been making her opinion known to the president that he needed to act to keep migrant families together.