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Melania Trump speaks out against child separations at border: 'Hate to see it'

Monday - 18/06/2018 09:53
First lady calls on ‘both sides’ to come together on immigration reform as Democrats press for changes on controversial policy
In a rare public statement, Melania Trump, has spoken out against the separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
In a rare public statement, Melania Trump, has spoken out against the separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman has said the first lady “hates to see children separated from their families”, in a rare public statement at odds with her husband’s policy of separating children from their parents at the Mexicoborder.

Stephanie Grisham said the first lady believed “we need to be a country that follows all laws”, but also one “that governs with heart”. She added: “Mrs Trump … hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform.”

Former first lady Laura Bush has made a similar plea, writing in the Washington Post that a zero-tolerance policy was “cruel” and “immoral”. But unlike Melania Trump, Bush placed responsibility firmly on the Trump administration’s policy, not “both sides”.

“The reason for these separations is a zero-tolerance policy for their parents, who are accused of illegally crossing our borders,” she wrote.

Melania Trump’s intervention came as reports emerged of children being held in cages at a warehouse in Texas after being separated from their parents. One cage had 20 children inside.

Those conditions were reported by media briefly allowed into the facility by the US border patrol. But Donald Trump’s secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Neilsen, criticised what she called “misreporting” by politicians and the press.

 US immigration protests as hundreds of children held in Texas facility – video

Elaborating on her statement that “we do not have a policy of separating families at the border”, she tweeted: “DHS takes very seriously its duty to protect minors in our temporary custody from gangs, traffickers, criminals and abuse. We have continued the policy from previous administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between ‘family’ members, or if the adult has broken a law.”

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