Melania Trump Distracts From Her Border Visit With 'I Really Don't Care' Jacket

By Susan Jones | June 22, 2018 | 6:08am EDT
First Lady Melania Trump visits a children's shelter in McAllen, Texas on June 21. (Photo: Screen capture/C-SPAN)

( - First Lady Melania Trump cared enough about children separated from their illegal alien parents to go visit them at the Southwest border on Thursday.

But, in a major distraction from the visit itself, Mrs. Trump wore a $39 ZARA jacket bearing the scrawled words: "I Really Don't Care, Do U?"

Her spokeswoman issued a statement saying, "It's a jacket, there was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe."

Wrong! The media did indeed focus on her jacket and the odd message it sent.

President Donald Trump later tweeted: "I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!"

Turning from her wardrobe to her actual words, Melania Trump told an immigration roundtable in Texas, "Thank you so much for having me here today. I'm glad I'm here and I'm looking forward to seeing and meeting children." She thanked the staff "for your heroic work that you do every day."

She said everyone knows the children "are scared without their family."

"I'm here to learn about your facility, and -- which I know you have children on a long-term basis. And I'd also like to ask you how I can help to these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible."

The first lady was visiting a shelter in McAllen, Texas -- part of Lutheran Social Services -- that currently houses 55 foreign children, ages 12-17, most of them unaccompanied minors who crossed into the U.S. without a parent or guardian.

Three of the children formerly at this particular shelter have been reuinited with their families, Mrs. Trump was told.

Among other things, the first lady learned that the children are allowed to speak by 10-minute telephone call to their families twice a week, once the relationship is verified.

Most of the children are from Guatemala, she was told. "Usually, when they get here, they're very distraught in the sense that they don't know where they're at," but "when they see the environment and they see the other kids and they see the yard, they start relaxing, one of the shelter workers said.

"So, the first 24 hour are crucial for us, you know, making sure that we got them the basic needs, showers, you know, clothing, food, and before we even start the assessment. And within those 24 hours, our unit shelter managers in charge of, you know, doing a brief update, as to what's going on with them, that way we can address it immediately. And then, eventually, every department takes a turn, to be able to further assess the needs of the kids. So, it's a process."

"But I'm sure they're very happy, and they love to study," Mrs. Trump said.

"Absolutely, one of the clinicians replied.

"They love to go to school," Melania said.

"You know, absolutely," the shelter's lead clinician said. "Again, when the children first get here, you know, it is a process. They go through an orientation. They go through a 24-hour initial intake. This is where we get to -- we get as much information as we possibly can from the children, again, to assess and make sure we're not missing anything."

The lead clinician explained the entire process:

If there is an immediate medical need, that is, immediately addressed. If there is an immediate mental health condition that needs to be addressed, we bring in our clinicians and then we take it from there. You know, after they do an orientation -- they go through several orientations. They'll go through our -- the shelter. They will, all, do case management orientation, and they'll also go through clinical orientation. So they will get an understanding of their current placement.

And again, this is to inform them and keep them as calm as possible, and to reassure them that they are in a safe place, that they will be well taken care of here. That they're -- they don't have anything to worry about, now they're in a safe environment, free from abuse. You know, and then, you know, every day is something new, with the children. We provide a lot of structure here. During the Monday through Friday schedule, they do attend class and we try to educate them, we try to assimilate them to what the public school education system is going to be like.

So -- and then, we also integrate recreational activities, spiritual care for the children, down time for them. You know, it's -- this is their home. You know, and they refer to these as shelters, but it is really a home for the children. This is their house, so their bedrooms are their bedrooms. And as you will see, First Lady, when we do the tour, you'll see the children and you'll see the smiles on their faces and you'll hear them giggle, and it's just fantastic.

I can -- you know, the staff that we have here, we just have a tremendous passion for working with these children, and we see them as if they were our own. You know, we do maintain boundaries and we do follow all of the ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) policies and guidelines, but just the passion that is there, in working with these children, ensuring that they're safe and ultimately, reunifying them with their families.

Most of the children spend an average of 42-45 days at the shelter. Children who don't have any family to return to are assessed by legal services, and some of them eventually attain refugee status.

For very young children, there is a network of foster homes throughout the United States that are licensed to work with them, in a “family setting.”

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