The president’s daughter has remained mostly quiet on the controversial issue of immigration, but she opened up a bit Thursday by saying she was “vehemently against” family separations.
Ivanka Trump calls father’s immigrant family separation policy ‘low point’ for administration
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, called the administration’s immigration enforcement policy that led to more than 2,500 family separations along the southern border a “low point” that she felt “very strongly about.”
Trump has remained mostly silent on immigration issues throughout her father’s presidency, only weighing in from time to time when asked about the topic during public appearances. That’s what happened Thursday when she was asked at an Axios event about the family separation crisis that prompted President Donald Trump to sign an executive order curtailing the practice and led a federal judge to order all the families to be reunited.
“That was a low point for me,” she said. “I feel very strongly about that. I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents of children.”
But her criticism of a policy put in place by her father ended there, as Ivanka Trump went on to explain that illegal immigration is a complex issue that requires tough decisions from the U.S. government.
She talked about being the daughter of an immigrant, referring to her mother, Ivana Trump, who emigrated to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia. But she made clear that “we are a country of laws” and boasted that her mother entered the country legally.
Then she warned about the decisions that parents in other countries are making to send their children to the U.S.
“We have to be very careful about incentivizing behavior that puts children at risk of being trafficked, at risk of entering this country with coyotes or making an incredibly dangerous journey alone,” she said.
But that description did not capture the situation that led to the family separation crisis, where parents and children were illegally crossing into the U.S. together and were separated by U.S. immigration agents.
“These are incredibly difficult issues,” Trump said. “And like the rest of the country, I experience them in an emotional way.”
When asked about Ivanka Trump’s statements on Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders downplayed any internal disagreements, saying that father and daughter both believe that the solution to the problem lies solely with Congress.
“The president himself has stated that he doesn’t like the idea of family separation,” Sanders said. “We also don’t like the idea of open borders…We want to secure the borders, we want to change the law, it’s Congress’ job to do that.”
Thursday’s comments were very rare for the first daughter. First Lady Melania Trump made two visits to the southern border, drawing her own bit of criticism over a jacket that she wore on the first trip. But Ivanka Trump, a mother of three who spoke often on the campaign trail about bringing a mother’s perspective to her decisions, had only addressed the family separation saga in one Tweet posted the day President Trump issued his executive order ending the practice.
In the Tweet, she thanked her father for ending the policy and urged Congress to act.
Ivanka Trump drew disappointed howls the last time she waded into immigration, when she was asked during an event how the government should handle the nearly 800,000 beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that her father tried to terminate. The young immigrants are often called DREAMers.
In that case, she also called on Congress to fix the problem, according to CNN.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who ordered the administration to reunite all the families, is scheduled to hold another hearing in San Diego on Friday to get an update from the government on its work. More than 1,400 have been reunited so far under Sabraw’s order, but more than 700 children remain separated because their parents were either deported, or the government has raised concerns about their parents.
USA Today reporter Eliza Collins spent the day with Ivanka Trump and here’s what she got out of it.USA TODAY