This Is How Melania Trump Helped End Family Separation at the Border

The pressure for President Trump to end family separations at the border came from all directions. Celebrities, citizens, former first ladies, the pope — it seemed like everyone was against the practice, thanks in part to the heartbreaking image of a crying 2-year-old Honduran girl that has now become the emblem of the cause.

Earlier this week, President Trump signed an executive order ending border separations of families thanks in part to pressure from the public. But one of the biggest reasons he chose to take action was because of his wife, Melania Trump.

The FLOTUS hold the immigration issue close to her heart

US First Lady Melania Trump attends a roundtbale

Melania Trump is an immigrant. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

It’s not at all surprising that the first lady has a soft spot for immigrant families. She is also an immigrant originally from Sevnica, in the Yugoslav republic of Slovenia. After working for many years as a professional model all over the world, she became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and married the future president in 2005. She’s only the second foreign-born first lady in history (the first was Louisa Adams, wife of John Adams, who was born in London).

Melania Trump made a surprise visit to the border

The first lady made waves when she embarked on an impromptu visit to McAllen, Texas on Thursday. She wanted to show face and also get a look at what immigrant families were facing first hand. “She wants to see what’s real,” the first lady’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN.

The gesture may have been well-intentioned, but news channels couldn’t take their eyes off Melania’s curious choice of clothing. She wore last season’s Zara jacket that said, “I really don’t care. Do U?” in white graffiti-style lettering. But spokespeople for FLOTUS said there was no meaning behind the jacket.

The new order lets families stay together

A Guatemalan immigrant woman and her infant daughter, released from detention through the “catch and release” policy | LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP/Getty Images

Trump signed the executive order on Wednesday with an aim to end separation of migrant families at the border. Reports of young children being forcibly separated from their parents or even breastfeeding infants being ripped from their mother’s arms led to harsh criticism. While Trump denied culpability for the practice, he opted to take action against it going forward.

“We’re going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for and that we don’t want,” Trump said Wednesday morning while announcing he would sign the order.

Not everyone was thrilled by the order

While some people such as the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, celebrated the order, others were critical. They questioned what would happen to the 2,000 children who have been separated over the past few months in light of the new policy.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, had the following to say on Twitter: “This Executive Order doesn’t fix the crisis. Indefinitely detaining children with their families in camps is inhumane and will not make us safe.”

There are deeper immigration issues to address

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday morning that the House will vote on immigration legislation, but NPR reported that there are signs the bill will not pass. The House had planned to vote Thursday on the proposals which include a compromise between conservative and moderate Republicans, but it was delayed until next week.

As for what happens next, we’ll just have to see.

Read more: The Tragic Mental Health Impact of Separating Children From Their Parents

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