First Lady Melania Trump flew to Tucson, Arizona Thursday to hold a roundtable at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility with local officials.
"I know how dangerous and difficult your daily jobs are so I really appreciate all you do on behalf of the country," the first lady told the Border Patrol officials.
“I’m here to help and support you and give my help, whatever I can, on behalf of children and the families,” she added.
TCA Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch told Mrs. Trump “there’s been a lot of misinformation that’s been put out to the general public about the conditions of the facilities and how our people and how our people care for the immigrants that we do encounter.”
Mike Humphries, who runs the Office of Field Operations, pointed out that agents act to prevent human trafficking.
“We’ve really prevented instances of human trafficking where someone show up claiming to be a family unit and then we find out that the children are in no way,” he said, “not even a close relation to the adult in custody.”
The first lady asked Humphries how often they see children crossing without an adult.
He replied that since October 2017 “we’ve had 1,100 unaccompanied alien children entering the Arizona ports of entry.”
Mrs. Trump appeared touched by the amount of children in harm’s way crossing the border alone, noting, “it’s incredible, as young as six years old.”
One Border Patrol agent told the first lady that “as a mother it hurts to see the children. They don’t really know what’s going on and so our main concern is to remove them from that element at the desert, that dangerous element, and bring them to a safe environment where we have food, water, toys if they want it and just take care of them.”
“There’s a lot of parents in the border patrol that really care for the children,” she emphasized.
The first lady toured the facility following the roundtable. This is the second border detention facility she has toured this month, she visited a facility in Texas last Thursday where the media became caught up in the jacket she wore while boarding and leaving her flight. It had the words "I really don't care. Do U?" on the back and the media speculated as to its meaning.
The first lady’s communications director Stephanie Grisham said Mrs. Trump was not trying to send a message with the jacket.
The Associated Press reported that for this flight Trump was wearing a black shirt and white slacks with no jacket.
Grisham said that the goal of the Arizona visit is to gain insight and continue to "encourage family reunification" and push 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."
Grisham told reporters that Mrs. Trump "shares her opinions and thoughts about family unification with the president directly and that he supported and urged her to make today’s trip."