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Donald Trump

Wearing black sweater and white slacks, Melania Trump visits US border for do-over at migrant centre

US first lady ‘really wants to learn’ about the process immigrants are going through, her spokeswoman says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 June, 2018, 2:52am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 June, 2018, 2:52am

US first lady Melania Trump headed toward the Arizona-Mexico border on Thursday for another visit with customs officials, children and others dealing with her husband’s strict immigration policy.

“She cares about children deeply and when the news started to hit I think she was very concerned and wanted to make sure the kids are being well taken care of,” said her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham. “She doesn’t like to see parents and kids separated.”

Asked whether Trump agrees with her husband’s immigration policy, Grisham said, “She definitely believes in strong border laws” and that she wants Congress to strengthen immigration policies. But she also believes in “governing with heart,” Grisham said.

This time, Trump made a risk-averse fashion choice of black sweater, white slacks and flat shoes when she boarded her jet at a military base in Maryland. The do-over came a week after she wore a jacket with a message on the back to and from the border town of McAllen, Texas, that overshadowed her visit with officials and some migrant children. Her jacket said in white letters on the back: “I really don’t care, do u?”

The choice baffled many and spawned a slew of memes about what the first lady, a former model, may have meant. Her spokeswoman said it was just a jacket, with no hidden message. But Trump’s husband, US President Donald Trump, undercut the no-message message by tweeting that his wife was saying she really doesn’t care about the “fake news” media.

‘I really don’t care’: Melania Trump’s jacket stuns on migrant visit

The first lady was to have a meeting and tour an intake facility in Tucson, Grisham said. She was expected to meet with local residents, including a rancher. Tucson is about two hours from the US-Mexico border.

“She really wants to learn” about the process making news around the world for cases in which parents are separated from their children, Grisham said.

The first lady is travelling at a tense time in the United States, amid increasing urgency over how the Trump administration’s immigration policy is playing out.

More than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents at the border in recent weeks, and some were placed in government-contracted shelters many hundreds of miles away from their parents.

Last week, the president signed an executive order to halt the separation of families at the border, at least for a few weeks, but the order did not address the reunification of families already torn apart.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered that thousands of migrant children and parents be reunited within 30 days – and sooner if the youngster is under five. The order poses logistical problems for the administration, and it was unclear how it would meet the deadline.