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Current and Former US First Ladies Speak Out Against Separating Families at Border


FILE - Nicole Hernandez, of the Mexican state of Guerrero, holds on to her mother as they wait with other families to request political asylum in the United States, across the border in Tijuana, Mexico, June 13, 2018.

Three former U.S. first ladies have criticized President Donald Trump's controversial policy of separating children from their parents who have crossed the border illegally.

In an op-ed column published in Sunday's Washington Post, former first lady Laura Bush called the separation policy "cruel" and "immoral," and said "it breaks my heart."

Former first lady Michelle Obama retweeted Bush's message Monday, adding, "Sometimes truth transcends party."

FILE - U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, right, and former U.S. first lady Laura Bush laugh as they participate in an African First Ladies Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 2, 2013.
FILE - U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, right, and former U.S. first lady Laura Bush laugh as they participate in an African First Ladies Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 2, 2013.

Former first lady Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, said Monday the situation at the southern U.S. border is "a moral and humanitarian crisis," and what is happening to families there is "horrific."

"Every human being with a sense of compassion and decency should be outraged," Clinton said.

Hillary Clinton delivers the keynote address at the 8th Annual Elly Award luncheon, after being one three women receiving this year's award, June 18, 2018, in New York.
Hillary Clinton delivers the keynote address at the 8th Annual Elly Award luncheon, after being one three women receiving this year's award, June 18, 2018, in New York.

First lady Melania Trump appeared to oppose her husband's policy and issued a rare public policy statement Sunday through a spokeswoman.

"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart," the statement read.

On Monday, President Trump said the separation of children from their parents trying to enter the United States illegally is "so sad," but showed no signs of changing the policy.

FILE - First lady Melania Trump participates in a celebration of military mothers and spouses at the White House in Washington, May 9, 2018.
FILE - First lady Melania Trump participates in a celebration of military mothers and spouses at the White House in Washington, May 9, 2018.

"A country without borders is not a country at all," he said. "We want safety and security for our country ... and it starts with the border."

Trump blamed opposition Democratic lawmakers for the impasse over U.S. immigration policies, even though Trump's Republican party controls both chambers in Congress, and the family border policies were set by his administration.

"I say it's very strongly the Democrats' fault," Trump said. He said border policies "can be taken care of very quickly" if Democrats "come to the table" to negotiate with the majority Republicans, who themselves are divided over immigration issues.

Roughly 2,000 minors have been separated from their families over a six-week period ending in May, administration officials said last week.

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