First Lady Melania Trump visits Tucson

Jasmine Demers | The Daily Wildcat Protestor outside a Southwest Key shelter where 250-300 undocumented children are being held on N. Oracle Road on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Tucson, Ariz.

First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Tucson this morning to visit the Border Patrol headquarters and took a tour of one of the immigration facilities, which shelters undocumented immigrants. 

Trump was also rumored to be visiting the Southwest Key shelter where 250-300 undocumented children are being held on N. Oracle Road.

Protesters started to line up outside the facility around 8 a.m. this morning in anticipation of her arrival. Some counter protesters also made their opinions known as they drove by, shouting “Trump 2020” and “separate them all.”

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the First Lady’s plane landed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base around 10 a.m. She then went to visit the border patrol headquarters on East Golf Links Road where she greeted Customs and Border Protections officials, including Rodolfo Karisch, Tucson's chief border patrol agent.


"Serious enforcement of immigration laws is necessary, and there has to be consequences for violations of these laws," Karisch said to Trump during the meeting.

melania trump protestors
Protestors outside a Southwest Key shelter where 250-300 undocumented children are being held on N. Oracle Road on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Tucson, Ariz.

During their meeting Trump introduced herself and said she was there to provide support.

"I know how dangerous and difficult your daily jobs are," Trump said. "I really appreciate all you do on behalf of the country." 

Karisch went on to explain to the First Lady that she would be meeting with border patrol officials and hearing their stories.

"There's been a lot of misinformation that's been put out the the general public of the conditions of our facilities and how our people care for the immigrants that we do encounter," he said.

The First Lady was then given a tour of the short-term detention facility. Shortly after, she was escorted back to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base where she boarded a plane to Phoenix around 12 p.m. 

Upon her arrival in Phoenix, Trump visited another Southwest Key immigration facility where she met with shelter staff and toured the facility before returning to the airport around 1:30 this afternoon.

Trump did not pay a visit to the Southwest Key detention center in Tucson as previously expected. This particular facility made national news recently when the Los Angeles Times interviewed a former employee, who called the detention center "prison-like."

Local resident and protester, Greta Anderson, said she and other protesters have been standing outside of the detention center in Tucson every morning for over a week. 

“We just feel it’s important to raise awareness in Tucson that this is happening in our community. There are a lot of people outraged about this child separation policy,” Anderson said.

Anderson held a sign that read “Hey France, take back your statue,” implying the U.S. no longer deserves the Statue of Liberty because of the way the country treats immigrants. 

“[Melania] is an immigrant herself; she has children,” Anderson said. “She should know that this is an appalling, appalling policy and that the kids need to be back with their parents as soon as possible.”

Tanna Cole, another Tucson resident and student at Pima Community College, wore a green jacket with writing on the back that read "we care."  During her visit to a detention center at McAllen, Texas last week, the First Lady wore something similar, sparking controversy with the words "I really don't care" on the back.

"I feel really horrible for these families who are being separated and there needs to be a change," said Cole. "We need to get all of these children back with their parents and create a new process that isn't so long and stressful so they can become citizens."

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