Melania Trump 'hates to see' children separated from families

Thousands of children have been separated from their parents at the US border, with first lady Melania Trump weighing into the issue for the first time.

First lady Melania Trump is wading into the emotional controversy over policies enacted by her husband's administration that have increased the number of migrant children being separated from their parents.

Mrs Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says the first lady believes "we need to be a country that follows all laws," but also one "that governs with heart".

She said Mrs Trump "hates to see children separated from their families" and hopes "both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform".

Nearly 2000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new "zero-tolerance" policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution.

President Donald Trump has tried to blame the practice on a law passed by Democrats that doesn't exist.

Meanwhile a top White House adviser is trying to distance the Trump administration from responsibility for a jump in the number of migrant children being separated from their parents by American authorities at the US-Mexico border.

A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the US.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.
Source: Getty Images North America

Kellyanne Conway told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday that "nobody likes" pulling apart families.

Conway rejected the idea that Trump was using the kids as leverage to get Democrats to negotiate on immigration and his border wall.

But she said, "If the Democrats are serious, they'll come together again and try to close these loopholes and get real immigration reform."

Published 18 June 2018 at 7:06am, updated 18 June 2018 at 7:34am