Melania Trump visits detention centre as immigration vote looms

by Garry Watts June 23, 2018, 23:46
Melania Trump visits detention centre as immigration vote looms

Mayors of major US cities who gathered Thursday at a holding facility for immigrant children at Texas' border with Mexico said President Trump has failed to address a humanitarian crisis of his own making with an executive order to halt the separation of minors as families are detained crossing the USA border illegally.

Trump indicated he would be willing to support a narrower bill that would address the problem of family separation.

First lady Melania Trump made a surprise trip to the southern border on Thursday amid the firestorm over the Trump administration's separation of migrant families.

"I'm here to learn about your facility, in which I know you house children on a long-term basis", Melania Trump said at the Upbring New Hope Children's Shelter.

While adults await legal processing and prosecution, their children are put in the custody of a division of the Health and Human Services Department.

Under the Executive Order the President yesterday, children who come to the border with their parents will be allowed to remain with them, but the "zero tolerance" policy will remain in place.

About 500 of the more than 2,300 children separated from their families at the U.S. -Mexico border have been reunited since May, a senior Trump administration official said Thursday, as confusion mounted over the "zero tolerance" policy that called for the prosecution of anyone caught entering the United States illegally.

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The youthful jacket sharply contrasts with the first lady's typically bold, foreign-flavored wardrobe.

"Thank you for all that you do", the first lady said around a table with officials and those in charge of the Upbring New Hope Children's Center, in McAllen, Texas. She shook hands with children and asked kids where they were from and how long they'd been there.

But a spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice said the report was inaccurate. "We see them as our own".

But a vote on a "compromise" bill between the party's hard-right and moderate wings, which ends family separations but also includes Trump priorities like curtailing legal immigration and providing some protections to young immigrants, was pushed back to at least Friday - a clear sign it lacked the votes to pass.

Plans for her to visit a second facility where children housed in cages were seen by The Associated Press last week were canceled because of flooding there.

Grisham added that the trip was "100 percent her idea".

"It really bothered her to see this", President Trump said. Mr. Trump commended DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday at the order's signing, saying she did a "great job" with her vigorous defense of the administration policy the past few weeks in the face of a nationwide outcry.

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