WASHINGTON — Melania Trump touched down in Tucson, Ariz. Thursday for an unannounced visit to U.S. Customs and Border Control facility, marking the first lady’s second trip to the region since the administration’s immigration policies about separating undocumented families sparked controversy.
Trump began her visit with a roundtable with local officials from Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service as well as a local rancher.
In her opening remarks, Trump expressed support for those enforcing immigration laws.
“I know how dangerous and difficult your daily jobs are,” Trump said. “I’m here to support you and give my help, whatever I can, for behalf of children and the families.”
The first lady also is expected to tour a short-term holding facility for children and an intelligence center.
Last week, Trump toured a detention center for children in McAllen, Texas.
During the initial trip, Trump was expected to visit a facility for the Department of Homeland Security but cut her visit short due to flooding.
That trip was marred by attention surrounding her choice of wardrobe, which included a widely derided jacket bearing the words “I don’t really care, do u?” on the back. She wore the jacket as she boarded an Air Force plane at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and also when she deplaned upon her return.
President Donald Trump later claimed on Twitter that the message on the jacket was a coded one directed at the media.
The latest trip comes amid shifting legal ground for the administration, including a court order from a federal judge in San Diego to hasten reunions for families who were separated at the border.
Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, acknowledged the situation.
“She’s anxious to learn how they’re implementing the new process,” Grisham told reporters en-route to Arizona. “There was a court case that threw a wrench in the works.”
Grisham noted that the trip is supported by the president and that the first lady is traveling without any administration officials.