Melania Trump 'hates to see' migrant children separated from their families

Monday, June 18, 2018

First lady Melania Trump has waded into the emotional controversy over policies enacted by her husband's administration that have increased the number of migrant children being separated from their parents.

Mrs Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said the first lady believes "we need to be a country that follows all laws", but also one "that governs with heart".

She said that 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".

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new "zero-tolerance" policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution.

President Donald Trump has tried to blame Democrats, who hold no levers of power in the government, for the situation that has sparked fury and a national debate over the moral implications of his hard-line approach to immigration enforcement.

"Nobody likes" breaking up families and "seeing babies ripped from their mothers' arms," said Kellyanne Conway, a counsellor to the president.

The administration wants to send a message, said Maine Senator Susan Collins, a Republican critic of the policy, "that if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you. That's traumatising to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country."

Mr Trump plans to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss pending immigration legislation amid an election-season debate over an issue that helped vault the New York real estate mogul into the Oval Office in 2016.

The House is expected to vote this week on a bill pushed by conservatives that may not have enough support to pass, and a compromise measure that includes key proposals supported by the president. The White House has indicated Mr Trump would sign either of those.

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