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 throughout her father’s presidency, weighing in only when asked about the topic during public appearances. That’s what happened Thursday when she was asked at an Axios event about the family separations 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 and children.”
Her criticism ended there as she 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 USA from Czechoslovakia. She made clear that “we are a country of laws” and said her mother entered the country legally.
“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 Thursday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders downplayed any internal disagreements, saying father and daughter both believe 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 rare for Trump’s daughter. First lady Melania Trump visited the southern border twice, drawing criticism over a jacket she wore on the first trip. Ivanka Trump, a mother of three who spoke often on the campaign trail about bringing a mother’s perspective to her decisions, had addressed the family separation saga in only one tweet posted the day President Trump issued his executive order ending the practice.
By Alan Gomez for USA TODAY
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