Melania defies critics with surprise trip to tour border facilities: ‘I’m headed down to Texas’

Melania Trump defied her husband’s critics and is visiting a child detention center in Texas amid the controversy over the immigrant family separation policy.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The first lady arrived in McAllen, Texas, Thursday in an unannounced trip to the U.S.-Mexico border to get a first-hand look at facilities.

“First Lady Melania Trump has arrived in Texas to take part in briefings and tours at a nonprofit social services center for children who have entered the United States illegally and a customs and border patrol processing center,” the White House’s Office of the First Lady said in a statement. “Her goals are to thank law enforcement and social services providers for their hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families.”

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

The first lady met with doctors, medical staff and social workers at Upbring New Hope where she spoke at a roundtable briefing, CNN reported.

“I want to thank you for your hard work, your compassion and your kindness,” she said.

Her trip comes one day after President Trump signed an executive order to end the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents who have crossed the border illegally. That policy placed children in the custody of a division of the Health and Human Services Department while the adults await legal processing and prosecution for entering the country illegally.

The policy, in place before Trump took office, created a national outcry once Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration would move forward with a zero-tolerance enforcement of the law.

“She wants to see what’s real,” Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN, “She wanted to see as close to what she had been seeing on TV. She wants to see a realistic view of what’s happening.”

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Upbring New Hope Children’s Center is part of Lutheran Social Services of the South which houses 60 children, from 5 to 17 years old.

The first lady quickly made the decision to make the trip and the president supported her.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“She’s seen the images. She’s heard the recordings… She was on top of the situation before any of that came out. She was concerned about it,” according Grisham. “This was her decision. She told her staff she wanted to go and we made that happen. He is supportive of it but she told him, `I’m headed down to Texas.’

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