First lady Melania Trump visits Arizona immigrant facilities

Jun 28, 2018, 7:36 AM | Updated: 3:46 pm
First lady Melania Trump, joined by Alexia Jo Rodriguez, Southwest Key Vice President, left, is gre...

First lady Melania Trump, joined by Alexia Jo Rodriguez, Southwest Key Vice President, left, is greeted by roundtable participants as she arrives at Southwest Key Campbell, a shelter for children that have been separated form their parents in Phoenix, Ariz., Thursday, June 28, 2018. The first lady is in the area to view additional immigration facilities. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PHOENIX — First lady Melania Trump came to Arizona on Thursday to visit immigration centers holding children, her second trip to a border state to see such facilities.

After a stop in Tucson, she flew to Phoenix, where she spent time at a shelter operated by Southwest Key.

When she arrived around 12:30 p.m. at the facility on Campbell Avenue just west of Interstate 17, protesters were gathered outside. Somebody set up a giant inflatable figure resembling President Donald Trump wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Melania Trump was greeted inside by several officials from Southwest Key.

“I want to support you, and let me know what I can do to help,” she said, according to the pool report.

Trump visited three rooms at the shelter and spoke to young children — both boys and girls — staying there.

The children in the infant room were as young as 6 months. The room was outfitted with “the usual trappings of a nursery,” such as a baby swing, an alphabet carpet and giant building blocks, according to the pool report.

The older children were learning English and studying subjects such as social studies. They were held in a standalone trailer outfitted as a classroom and a multi-use space.

Trump thanked the staff for taking care of the children, and her motorcade left the facility about an hour after it arrived.

Before coming to Phoenix, Trump toured a Customs and Border Patrol facility in Tucson and talked to representatives from the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service and a local rancher.

“I’m here to support you and give my help, whatever I can” on “behalf of children and the families,” she said to officials.

She visited the Tucson Coordinating Center, a short-term holding facility where cells were marked for families, males and juveniles.

She also toured an intelligence center before heading to Phoenix.

Trump landed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in southern Arizona just before 10 a.m. for her second visit to facilities holding immigrant children in the week since her husband signed an executive order to end the practice of splitting up families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The president signed the order June 20, but the directive kept in place the “zero tolerance” policy that leads to the arrest of all adults who illegally cross the border.

Last week, the first lady visited a facility in McAllen, Texas, where staff was caring for immigrant children.

That visit drew attention for a jacket she wore with the words “I really don’t care, do u?” on the back.

“It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said at the time.

The first lady wore a simple black top with white pants during her Arizona visit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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First lady Melania Trump visits Arizona immigrant facilities