Melania Trump 'Hates to See Children Separated from Their Families' Amid President's Immigration Crackdown
"She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart," the first lady's communications director tells PEOPLE
“Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families,” Melania’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, told PEOPLE on Sunday.
FLOTUS also called for Democrats and Republicans to fix the nation’s immigration crisis.
“[She] hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” Grisham said, adding that Melania “believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”
At the time of the statement’s release on Sunday, which marked Father’s Day, Melania had yet to publicly celebrate her husband as a father figure to their 12-year-old son Barron as well as his adult children: Donald Jr., 40, Ivanka, 36, Eric, 34, and Tiffany, 24.
Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families during a six-week period in April and May as the Trump Administration adopted a “zero-tolerance” policy of separating families at the border, TIME reported on Saturday.
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A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed to TIME that 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults by U.S. Border Patrol from April 19 through May 31 in the midst of the illegal immigration crackdown.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in early May that officials would separate parents and children who are caught illegally crossing the border while prosecuting the parents for a federal misdemeanor.
While the parents are incarcerated, children — who are not charged with a crime — are separated and held in juvenile facilities with no clear process for reunification, according to TIME. In the past, families in this situation have typically been subject to civil deportation proceedings instead of criminal prosecution.
Meanwhile, on Father’s Day morning, members of Congress from New York and New Jersey insisted on access to Elizabeth Contract Detention Facility, a privately run detention facility in New Jersey, to meet and speak with detained fathers who have been separated from their children as a result of the crackdown, NBC News reported.
And in Texas, hundreds of protestors marched to Tornillo, Texas, where children are reportedly being held in a tent city detention facility.