Melania Trump 'hates to see' children separated at border

By Daniel Uria  |  June 17, 2018 at 4:10 PM
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June 17 (UPI) -- First lady Melania Trump issued a statement Sunday saying she "hates to see" children being separated from their families at the border, according to her spokeswoman.

She called on a bipartisan solution to end the separation of migrant children from their parents at the U.S. border in a statement to CNN issued by her communications director Stephanie Grisham. NBC also received a statement.

"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," Grisham said. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

Her comments came after immigration officials said Friday that they had separated 2,000 children from their parents after illegally crossing the border in April and May.

Melania Trump's husband, President Donald Trump, didn't deliver any statement regarding the issue Sunday ahead of a meeting with House Republicans Tuesday to discuss a pair of compromise bills to stop the separation of children and families.

On Friday, Donald Trump told Fox and Friends he was considering two immigration proposals, but "certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one" which was a House bill that would provide $25 billion in additional funding for a border wall and legal status for migrants who crossed the border illegally as children, including a path to citizenship.

He further clarified his requirements for immigration legislation to receive his signature in a tweet Friday afternoon.

"The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!" Donald Trump wrote.

Trump senior aide Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday and also expressed that "nobody likes seeing babies ripped from their mothers' arms" while calling on Democrats to close so-called immigration loopholes.

"This is a perilous journey for many of these children, and if people really cared about them we would figure out a way to get the funding to expand the centers and to close the loopholes," Conway said. "I think what the president is saying is if the Democrats are serious, they'll come together again and try to close these loopholes and get real immigration reform."

Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas condemned the process of separating children at the border as inhumane while appearing on CNN's State of the Union Sunday and placed blame for the practice on the nation as a whole.

"I'd like to say it's un-American, but it's happening right now in America. And it is on all of us, not just the Trump administration. This is on all of us," he said.

O'Rourke added he would join a march to Tornillo, Texas, where Democratic lawmakers plan to visit immigration centers and would also introduce a measure to end family separation.

"I'm confident that the American people this time are going to get it right," he said.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told CBS' Face the Nation she would support separating children at the border if they were abused or trafficked, but said the current enforcement was inconsistent with American values.

"What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that, if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you," Collins said. "That is traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims. And it is contrary to our values in this country. That is not to say that we shouldn't act to try to curb illegal immigration. We should. And I support the president's proposals for border security."

Collins and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., wrote a letter to the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services requesting they explain how separations are occurring.

"It is critical that Congress fully understands how our nation's laws are being implemented on the ground, especially when the well-being of young children is at stake," the letter stated.

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