First lady Melania Trump landed in Tucson, Arizona, Thursday, about two hours north of the US-Mexico border, where she is expected to have a briefing roundtable with local officials and a few local ranchers.
East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham said the first lady’s goal is to “learn and educate herself” about issues at the border, first hand, from those on the front lines and thank them for the sometimes dangerous work they do.
After roundtable she will get a tour of the intake center, a short-term holding facility, where families are being separated. The first lady will also have a private briefing at an intelligence operation center at the facility.
The overall goal of the Arizona visit, Grisham said, is to provide insight to Trump as she continues to “encourage family reunification” and urge Congress “to fix our broken immigration system.”
“She recognizes it’s a complex issue,” Grisham said. “She definitely believes in strong border laws. She wants to make sure the kids are well taken care of.”
Last Thursday, Trump spent about one hour meeting with staff and touring the Upbring New Hope Children’s Shelter in McAllen, a Department of Health and Human Services-assisted facility that houses and cares for unaccompanied minors who have entered the country illegally until they can be placed with family or volunteers.
Trump visited with some of the 55 children at the shelter, about 10% of whom had been separated from their parents at a border intake facility. The first lady stopped in to three classrooms where the children, ranging in age from 12 to 17, were having lessons.
The first lady’s trip last Thursday was overshadowed by a sartorial decision she made to wear a $39 Zara jacket emblazoned on the back with the words “I really don’t care. Do U?” for the departure from and return to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. She did not wear the jacket while in Texas.